New Tech Gives Paralyzed Man Use Of Hand

Science / Tech

New tech coming out of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is giving a paralyzed man back the use of one of his hands. Ian Burkhart can now pick up a bottle, pour the contents out, and place the bottle back down all using his paralyzed hand. Burkhart is wearing a special electrode sleeve on his right forearm that allows him to control the paralyzed appendage using his thoughts. Burkhart can also swipe a credit card and most importantly, he can now play video games… namely Guitar Hero. The electrode sleeve works by bypassing the spinal cord allowing the brain to directly control the muscles.

Not only are we recording signals from within the brain and not only are we deciphering those signals and telling the difference between when Ian thinks about moving his thumb versus flexing his wrist or moving his index finger, we can actually take those signals and translate them into a language that the muscles can understand.

Doctors told me I’d broken my neck and that most likely I’d be able to move my shoulders around, but nothing else for the rest of my life. I kind of have to think about it a little bit beforehand, and really think through what I’m trying to accomplish.

The tech isn’t ready for consumer or medical use just yet, there is still much to be done but it looks like a promising study. The applications, if successful, are numerous and the benefits will be life changing for many people who are paralyzed. We’re excited to see what comes next from this research and we’ll try and bring you whatever updates might come through.

What do you think of this electrode sleeve that helps give paralyzed people the ability to use their limbs again? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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