Hand Movement Restored to Paralyzed Man
A quadriplegic man who sustained a C5-level spinal cord injury can now move his hand and wrist by thought control thanks to neural bypass technology.
A pea-sized microchip implanted into the motor cortex of a 24-year-old patient from Ohio decodes the electronic signals associated with movement. The data is immediately interpreted and converted into signals that are sent to an electrode array wrapped around the forearm. The electrodes are tuned to electrically stimulate the muscles similar to how the muscles would be activated naturally, resulting in a high level of control for the patient.
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Neurological Institute and Battelle Memorial Institute applied machine-learning algorithms to decode neuron activity, and controlled activation of the forearm muscles with a high-resolution neuromuscular electrical stimulation system. The system was designed to bypass the injured area of the brain so the patient could once again grasp and manipulate objects, as seen in this video.
The technology, considered one of the first demonstrations of successful muscle activation control using intracortically recorded signals in a paralyzed subject, has potential to help those with various spinal injuries, as well victims of strokes and other brain injuries.