A paralyzed man was able to move his arm and wrist thanks to a newly developed system that helps brain waves travel to the paralyzed body.
Ian Burkhart is a quadriplegic 24-year-old man who suffered a diving accident in 2010 when he was a teenager, which paralyze him from the shoulders down.
Burkhart has been working with doctors and engineers for years trying to develop a new system that can help with his condition.
The doctors were able to restore the movement in Ian’s body thanks to a small brain implant that reads his thoughts while transmitting them to a computer who then sends signals to a sleeve in Burkart’s wrist.
“I just think what I want to do and now I can do it,” Said Ian Burkhart who can now pick up a credit card and swipe it, pour a bottle of water or even play guitar hero with the help of the system.
In 2014, Ian made headlines after being the first disabled man able to hold a spoon using his own brain.
Doctors were able to implant a microelectrode chip on top of Ian’s brain, the chip is able to interpret his thoughts and follow his brain signals thanks to a machine-learning algorithm.
After the machine captures the signals, it sends them through a bypass to the patient’s injured spinal cord which is connected to a sleeve on the wrist of the patient that simulates movement.
Ian felt full of hope when he moved his hand for the first time. When he was finally able to open and close his hand, he said that it gave him a “sense of hope for his futures”.
Even though Ian Burkhart is connected to a system that allows his arms to move, doctors and engineers working with the 24-year-old are hoping future wireless technology will allow a more free system.
“Your cell phone will be communicating with your sleeve. Patients like Ian can be in charge of their own lives and be independent” Said Dr. Ali Rezai of Ohio State University, who worked on the research.
The author of the study Chad Bouton assures this study will mark the difference for more upcoming technologies that will allow patients with traumatic brain injury, to regain control of their lives and benefit from this treatment.
Researchers have assured their main goal is to achieve a more free system so more patients can benefit from it.
Source: CBS News