Implants can be used to detect and interpret signals from the brain. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason
Scientists have been working on a way to help paralysis patients regain some movement in their hands.
Six years ago Ian Burkhart had been an otherwise fit and healthy college freshman until a freak diving accident saw him break his neck and left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Not all was lost however as not long afterwards the 24-year-old become a guinea pig in a revolutionary new experiment designed to return the movement to one of his hands by implanting electrodes in his brain capable of sensing the neural activity associated with hand movement.
Fast forward to the present day and now, by using a special computer interface, Burkhart is able to use his paralyzed hand to pick up objects, pour a drink, stir a cup and even play the guitar.
While it is currently only possible for him to do this while connected up in the laboratory, the researchers are optimistic that systems like this will eventually be available in the home too.
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