Eight years after being paralyzed, a man can move his own arm again.
Bill Kochevar was paralyzed from the neck down in a bike accident. Now, with a new mind-controlled prosthetic, he can move his own arm with his thoughts.
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The prosthetic works thanks to implanted sensors in his motor cortex and 36 electrodes in his arm. Signals from his brain trigger the implants, which send the signal to a computer that decodes the movements, and stimulates the electrodes in his arm.
This completely circumvents his spinal injury. He still has to have robotic help to support his arm, but he’s able to eat and drink on his own.
Bill had to undergo training in order to “think” the right way to get his arm to move, which he undertook with the help of a virtual reality arm before his brain surgery.
Mind-controlled artificial limbs already exist, but this is the first to give a paralyzed person some motor function again.
For now, the process of movement is relatively slow, and his brain can only stimulate a few muscles at a time. But as the technology improves, the researchers feel this will be able to give more functions back to the people who have lost them.
via The Guardian