The dream of electrically bypassing spinal cord injuries to restore movement to paralyzed limbs always seemed to be both close to realization yet far away in practice. Now, thanks to special technology made by Battelle, a nonprofit R&D organization out of Columbus, Ohio, a quadriplegic man has been able to use his own thoughts to move a paralyzed arm.
Battelle’s Neurobridge technology involves implanting a chip smaller than a pea into the brain of the patient to read electrical activity in the area responsible for hand motion. Signals are continuously gathered and decoded using special software that figures out which muscles are being asked to contract and passes this onto an electric stimulator that activates those muscles. All this happens within a tenth of a second, providing nearly instantaneous control. Now the man is able to rotate his hand, make a fist, and pinch his fingers together for grabbing objects. Since he’s been paralyzed for a while, the muscles have significantly atrophied and have required training using electric stimulation to beef up a bit and get ready for the experiment.
Here’s video from Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center showing off the technology in action:
More about Battelle’s Neurobridge technology:
Link: Neurobridge Technology…
Stetement by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: New Device Allows Brain To Bypass Spinal Cord, Move Paralyzed Limbs….