Spinal cord injuries/ paralysis are fatal because they cut off communication between the brain and limbs – damaged nerves are unable to transfer signals from the brain to limbs, thus rendering them unusable. However, just recently, a team of scientists from Ohio State University and Battelle partnered together to use a breakthrough technology called Neurobridge (created by Battelle) that helps quadriplegics move their limbs with just their thought!
As mentioned earlier, nerves are crucial for limb movement, and fatal accidents that cause injuries to the
spine and damage nerves drastically impact limb movement. This is where Neurobridge comes to rescue. A little chip (smaller than a pea) is implanted in the part of the brain that controls arm and hand movements. This chip reads and interprets brain signals, sends them to a computer that recodes and sends them to a sleeve that the patient is wearing, and simulates the proper muscles, thus allowing them to move the desired limb. It takes a total of one tenth of a second from thought to limb movement. So essentially, it totally bypasses the (damaged) nerves responsible for transmitting signals from the brain to the limb and sends them directly to the muscles instead.
Watch this video to see Ivan Burkhart, a 23 year old quadriplegic who was paralyzed after a diving accident move his arm by using Neurobridge.
This is still a clinical study (FDA approved) that is working with five patients. Currently, the study is focussing on arms and hands, but the possibilities in the future are endless. To begin with, brushing their teeth, flossing, using their own hands to eat with a spoon or fork etc. can be a huge boost to a paralyzed person’s morale and confidence.
What the scientists have achieved so far is a big step forward, and they are only going to continue to make such advancements in the future.
Watch the video to learn more about paralysis and how this technology works. Hit the source links for more details.