For the first time ever, a quadriplegic man has moved his hand using his own thoughts.
Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old who became paralyzed after a diving accident four years ago, is the first patient to try out Neurobridge, which reroutes brain signals. The system combines a computer chip implanted in the brain, a brain-computer interface and a sleeve that transmits electrical signals to the patient's forearm and hand.
Neurobridge works as a kind of neural "bypass," taking signals from the brain, rerouting them around the damaged spinal cord and sending them directly to the muscles, according to its developers, including doctors at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and researchers from Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
"Other devices use electrical stimulation, but they are not responsive to the individual," Dr. Jerry Mysiw, medical director of Rehabilitation Services at Wexner, told Live Science. "I think we've demonstrated this is another milestone in the evolution of human-machine interface technology." [10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life]