News World Paralysed man walks again with brain-controlled exoskeleton (video)

Paralysed man walks again with brain-controlled exoskeleton (video)

A man paralysed from the shoulders down has been able to walk using a pioneering four-limb robotic system, or exoskeleton, that is commanded and controlled by signals from his brain.

With a ceiling-mounted harness for balance, the 28-year-old tetraplegic patient used a system of sensors implanted near his brain to send messages to move all four of his paralysed limbs after a two-year-long trial of the whole-body exoskeleton.

The results, published in The Lancet Neurology journal on Thursday, bring doctors a step closer to one day being able to help paralysed patients drive computers using brain signals alone, according to researchers who led the work.

But for now the exoskeleton is purely an experimental prototype and is “far from clinical application”, they added.

“(This) is the first semi-invasive wireless brain-computer system designed… to activate all four limbs,” said Alim-Louis Benabid, a neurosurgeon and professor at the University of Grenoble, France, who co-led the trial.

He said previous brain-computer technologies have used invasive sensors implanted in the brain, where they can be more dangerous and often stop working. Previous versions have also been connected to wires, he said, or have been limited to creating movement in just one limb.

In this trial, two recording devices were implanted, one either side of the patient’s head between the brain and the skin, spanning the sensorimotor cortex region of the brain that controls sensation and motor function.

Each recorder contained 64 electrodes which collected brain signals and transmitted them to a decoding algorithm. The system translated the brain signals into the movements the patient thought about, and sent his commands to the exoskeleton.

Over 24 months, the patient carried out various mental tasks to train the algorithm to understand his thoughts and to progressively increase the number of movements he could make.

Commenting on the results, Tom Shakespeare, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was “a welcome and exciting advance” but added: “Proof of concept is a long way from usable clinical possibility.”

“A danger of hype always exists in this field. Even if ever workable, cost constraints mean that high-tech options are never going to be available to most people in the world with spinal cord injury.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

164 new cases, one death announced on Thursday

The Health Ministry announced the death of one person due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 178,...

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Friday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Friday, 22 January 2021: LIMASSOL Parking place Sklavenitis supermarket, Germasogia 08:30-16:30 Parking place Lidl supermarket, Limassol...

Alcohol consumption among Cypriot students high

Alcohol consumption among students has been reduced, the Cyprus National Addictions Authority ascertained on the basis of a European research, conducted every four years....

Earthquake measuring 5 felt all over Cyprus

An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale occurred around 16:30 and was felt all over Cyprus. Due to the earthquake, the Parliament session that...

UK hits 5m vaccine doses as health minister defends scheduling change

British health minister Matt Hancock on Thursday (January 21) lamented another record daily number of COVID-19 deaths, but hailed the achievements of the UK's...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...