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Wireless Interface Helps Paralyzed Man To Walk Again

"Technology that turns thought into action" through a wireless interface has been developed by a group of neuroscientists and neurosurgeons, allowing a once-paralyzed man to walk again, according to The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Now he can even walk and even climb stairs again, which is certainly a remarkable feat. So what's the secret behind such an incredible advancement? As it turns out, it's rather interesting.

Image Credits: Gilles Weber, CC-BY-SA

In order to connect the man's brain and spinal cord, the team of neuroscientists and neurosurgeons developed a set of implants that would then work together wirelessly. Neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch explains the process in more detail: "We have implanted WIMAGINE® devices above the region of the brain that is responsible for controlling leg movements. These devices developed by the CEA allows to decode the electrical signals generated by the brain when we think about walking. We also positioned a neurostimulator connected to an electrode array over the region of the spinal cord that controls leg movement."

The researchers describe this as a "digital bridge" that is formed between the brain and the spinal cord, passing electrical stimulation to activate muscles in the legs. As a result, the paralyzed man can now walk and stand very naturally, using just this technology alone.

Thanks to this incredible technology, it is hoped that it could help others in a similar position, with scope for future expansion. Other advancements, such as collagen implants restoring vision in blind people, have also been made recently — yet another incredible feat.