Ohio Quadriplegic Man Plays Video Games Thanks To An Experimental Brain Implant

Ohio Quadriplegic Man Plays Video Games Thanks To An Experimental Brain Implant
In Ohio, a quadriplegic man is picking up objects, stirring his beverages, and even playing video games. How? Ian Burkhart, 24, simply uses his thoughts to perform these actions.Burkhart is the first paralyzed patient to benefit from an experimental technology created by Battelle, a non-profit research and development organization. Paralyzed from the shoulders down, he can move his shoulders and, to a limited extent, his elbow. In 2014, surgeons from Ohio State University implanted a chip on his brain’s motor cortex. NeuroLife, as the chip technology is called, transmits Burkhart’s brain data to a software program with algorithms able to decode his thoughts.From here, impulses flow into a customized forearm cuff, essentially a sleeve that contains electrodes, which stimulate Burkhart’s muscles allowing him to perform dexterous movements.For the past two years, Burkhart has trained at OSU to become more proficient at performing functional tasks with his right hand. While Burkhart has learned the system, the system has also learned him, explains Nick Annetta, a researcher and electrical engineer at Battelle. Annetta refers to the technology as a “neural bypass,” since Burkhart’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and instead flow directly to the cuff.Past research describes the brain reorganization or rewiring that typically occurs after spinal cord injuries. This new success with Burkhart suggests the degree of brain reorganization following an injury may be less than previously assumed. Potentially, then, a neural bypass could benefit many patients suffering from diverse neurological conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease.Tragically, Burkhart broke his neck after diving into waves during a beach holiday when he was just 19 years old. Although his work with Battelle is part of a scientific study, he hopes to one day take the NeuroLife technology home with him.“I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to take part in this study,” he told Nature. “I’ve had lots of fun with it. I know that I’ve done a lot of work to help other people as well.” Youtube

In Ohio, a quadriplegic man is picking up objects, stirring his beverages, and even playing video games. How? Ian Burkhart, 24, simply uses his thoughts to perform these actions.

Burkhart is the first paralyzed patient to benefit from an experimental technology created by Battelle, a non-profit research and development organization. Paralyzed from the shoulders down, he can move his shoulders and, to a limited extent, his elbow. In 2014, surgeons from Ohio State University implanted a chip on his brain’s motor cortex. NeuroLife, as the chip technology is called, transmits Burkhart’s brain data to a software program with algorithms able to decode his thoughts.

From here, impulses flow into a customized forearm cuff, essentially a sleeve that contains electrodes, which stimulate Burkhart’s muscles allowing him to perform dexterous movements.

For the past two years, Burkhart has trained at OSU to become more proficient at performing functional tasks with his right hand. While Burkhart has learned the system, the system has also learned him, explains Nick Annetta, a researcher and electrical engineer at Battelle. Annetta refers to the technology as a “neural bypass,” since Burkhart’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and instead flow directly to the cuff.

Past research describes the brain reorganization or rewiring that typically occurs after spinal cord injuries. This new success with Burkhart suggests the degree of brain reorganization following an injury may be less than previously assumed. Potentially, then, a neural bypass could benefit many patients suffering from diverse neurological conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease.

Tragically, Burkhart broke his neck after diving into waves during a beach holiday when he was just 19 years old. Although his work with Battelle is part of a scientific study, he hopes to one day take the NeuroLife technology home with him.

“I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to take part in this study,” he told Nature. “I’ve had lots of fun with it. I know that I’ve done a lot of work to help other people as well.”

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