A brain-controlled technology, in its early investigational stages, allowed a tetraplegic man to move his paralyzed arm and hand to feed himself and grasp a mug of water. The investigators and independent commentators discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in perfecting the technology.
A man who was paralyzed from his shoulders on down in a bike accident has been able to scratch his nose, feed himself mashed potatoes, and grasp a mug of water using technology that allows him to move his paralyzed arm and hand simply by thinking about it.
The reaching and grasping movements were accomplished by combining functional electrical stimulation with an intracortical brain-computer interface to create a new connection between the man’s brain and the muscles in his paralyzed limb.
The brain-controlled technology, or neuroprosthesis, is in an early investigational stage, but it has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of persons with tetraplegia, the study authors said.
Scientists from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and elsewhere gave a tantalizing glimpse of that possibility in a March 28 online report in The Lancet in which they describe a “proof-of-concept” demonstration with a man who had suffered a C4 spinal cord injury eight years before signing up for the experiment.
“What we are doing is restoring the ability to move from Point A to Point B and interact with simple objects,” lead author A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western University, told Neurology Today. “Our goal is to restore some level of independence to people who don’t have it because of the severity of their spinal cord injury.”
Original source of this content: http://journals.lww.com/neurotodayonline/Fulltext/2017/05040/Novel_Brain_Controlled_Technology_Allows_Paralyzed.1.aspx#P8