Texas residents with spinal cord injuries and their families are likely aware of a very exciting development in the field of brain-computer technology. After years of research and technological advancement, a man with severe and debilitating spinal cord damage was able to move a robotic arm with nothing more than his thoughts. Well, his thoughts and a small brain implant connected to the device that was operated.
This news represents the crossing of a new frontier in the field of medical technology. Those connected to the project stress the need for continued research in this area, and are excited about the potential for widespread application of other forms of mind-controlled devices. The results are the culmination of years of hard work and research, and have brought hope to thousands of individuals who suffer from spinal cord injuries.
The process began with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the man’s brain as he watched video of arm movements. Researchers used those images to determine which parts of the brain controlled arm mobility. A small electrode array was placed on his brain during a surgical procedure, and wires from the device were channeled out of his body and connected to computer cables. As a result, the man was able to move computer graphics and a robotic arm by simply thinking about those motions.
This type of medical technology is exciting and promising to those with severe spinal cord damage. However, such advancements are also incredibly expensive, and are not available to all who could benefit. When an individual is injured due to the negligence of another, a personal injury suit can help the victim to collect damages that could help secure the best level of treatment possible, in an attempt to regain a measure of normalcy in the aftermath of a Texas spinal cord injury.
Source: nanowerk.com, “Spinal cord-injured man controls robot arm with thoughts,” Feb. 9, 2013