A MAN paralysed from the neck down has learnt to move a computer cursor and an artificial arm by the power of thought alone. The brain implant that has allowed him to do so could be used eventually to control wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. The first detailed scientific report on the case of Matthew Nagle, 25, whose spinal cord was severed in a knife attack, shows how sensors that measure brainwaves could allow paralysed patients to improve their quality of life greatly.
Mr Nagle, from Massachusetts, has been fitted with a 4mm-square chip that reads signals in the primary motor cortex of his brain, the region that would control movement if he had the use of his limbs. When he imagines moving his paralysed body, the implant?s 100 sensors record the activity in his brain and transmit these signals to a computer that controls various devices.
In nine months, he has learnt to move a cursor on a computer screen, open e-mails, play simple computer games and adjust the volume of his television. He has also learnt to operate a simple robotic arm. – timesonline
“In a study published in the journal Nature this week, the researchers describe how two paralyzed patients with a surgically implanted neural device successfully controlled a computer and, in one case, a robotic arm — using only their minds. – techrev