The Neurobridge is a collaborative project developed by Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center and applied science development non-profit organization Battelle. Through combined efforts, the organizations have been working on a tool that allows the brain signal to bypass the site of injury, and send it directly to the muscle.
Ian Burkhart is a 23 year old quadriplegic that suffered an accident in 2010 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Since the accident, Burkhart has some use of his arms but was completely unable to use his legs hands and fingers. With the Neurobridge, the brain signal would bypass Burkhart’s spinal cord and send direct signals to the applied area.
Recently, Burkhart underwent brain surgery where neurosurgeon, Dr. Ali Rezai, implanted a sensor chip into the motor cortex of the brain. This pea sized chip, can read and interpret the electrical activity of Ian’s brain and send it to a computer. From there the computer interprets, recodes and sends the signal to a hi-def electrode stimulation sleeve that is placed on Burkhart’s right arm.
The Neurobridge is the first device to use the patients actual thoughts to generate movement in their limbs. This breakthrough in technology leads for unlimited potential. The use of thoughts instead of a mechanical tool moving and animating limbs is an excellent alternative.
Doctors on the Neurobridge project have high hopes for future patients with disabilities or brain injury. It leaves the individual the power to choose with thought instead of relying on an assistive device.
“Today was great,” Burkhart told CBSNews. “I mean, to be able to open and close my hand and do those complex movements that I haven’t been able to do for four years was great. Physically, it was a foreign feeling. Emotionally it was definitely a sense of hope and excitement to know that it’s possible.”
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