Mind-con­trolled suit helps paral­ysed man walk again

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Trends -

Lon­don: A man paral­ysed from the shoul­ders down has been able to walk us­ing a pi­o­neer­ing four-limb ro­botic sys­tem, or ex­oskele­ton, that is com­manded and con­trolled by sig­nals from his brain.

With a ceil­ing-mounted har­ness for bal­ance, 28-yearold tetraplegi­c pa­tient Thibault used a sys­tem of sen­sors im­planted near his brain to send mes­sages to move all four of his paral­ysed limbs af­ter a two-year-long trial of the whole-body ex­oskele­ton.

The re­sults, pub­lished in The Lancet Neu­rol­ogy jour­nal on Thurs­day, bring doc­tors a step closer to one day be­ing able to help paral­ysed pa­tients drive com­put­ers us­ing brain sig­nals alone. But for now the ex­oskele­ton is purely an ex­per­i­men­tal pro­to­type and is “far from clin­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion”, they added.

“(This) is the first semi­in­va­sive wire­less brain-com­puter sys­tem de­signed... to ac­ti­vate all four limbs,” said Alim-Louis Ben­abid, a neu­ro­sur­geon and pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Greno­ble who co-led the trial.

He said pre­vi­ous brain­com­puter tech­nolo­gies have used in­va­sive sen­sors im­planted in the brain, where they can be more dan­ger­ous.

In this trial, two record­ing de­vices were im­planted in the pa­tient’s head be­tween the brain and the skin, span­ning the sen­so­ri­mo­tor cor­tex re­gion that con­trols sen­sa­tion and mo­tor func­tion. Each recorder con­tained 64 elec­trodes which col­lected brain sig­nals and trans­mit­ted them to a de­cod­ing al­go­rithm. The sys­tem trans­lated the brain sig­nals into the move­ments the pa­tient thought about, and sent his com­mands to the ex­oskele­ton.

AFP

Paral­ysed since a fall four years ago, 28-year-old Thibault now man­ages to di­rect the move­ments of an ex­oskele­ton by thought

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