A study published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation reports that doctors from Southern California have devised a brain-to-computer technology that can trigger leg movements in a paralysed person by bypassing the person’s injured spinal cord. This technology enabled a 28-year-old paraplegic man to walk without the help of robotics.
The impossible looking task was achieved after researchers used a system to connect the patient’s brain and computer wherein computer algorithms allowed the brain to directly send messages to electrodes placed in the patient’s knees by bypassing his injured spinal cord. This triggered controlled leg muscle movements in the patient.
Adam Fritz who injured his back in a motorcycle accident five years ago moved for 3.6 metres at the University of California’s Irvine iMove Lab. His weight however was partially supported by an overhead suspension harness and he held a walker in his hand to keep his body upright. Researchers said this was necessary since Fritz had no sensation in his legs.