Scheuermann has a degenerative spinal disease and has been paralyzed for about nine years, Schwartz said. “She has a spinal cord degeneration so that her condition is very similar to someone that has suffered a spinal cord injury,” Schwartz said. “She can’t move anything below her neck.”
Schwartz and colleagues implanted two separate arrays with 96 electrodes in Scheuermann’s motor cortex, the part of the brain that initiates movement. Each one is about 1/16th of an inch long, Schwartz said, a fairly simple procedure for brain surgeons.
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Mind-controlled robotic arm has skill and speed of human limb
Experts are calling it a remarkable step forward for prosthetics controlled
directly by the brain. Other systems have already allowed paralyzed patients to type or write in freehand simply by thinking about the letters they want. In the past month, researchers in Switzerland also used electrodes implanted directly on the retina to enable a blind patient to read.
The development of brain-machine interfaces is moving quickly and scientists predict the technology could eventually be used to bypass nerve damage and re-awaken a person's own paralyzed muscles.
Will we ever… have cyborg brains?
For the first time in over 15 years, Cathy Hutchinson brought a coffee to her
lips and smiled. Cathy had suffered from the paralysing effects of a stroke, but when neurosurgeons implanted tiny recording devices in her brain, she could use her thought patterns to guide a robot arm that delivered her hot
drink. This week, it was reported that Jan Scheuermann, who is paralysed from the neck down, could grasp and move a variety of objects by controlling a robotic arm with her mind.