A paraplegic man walked for the first time thanks to this technology

A paralyzed man who lost his ability to walk five years ago was able to walk again thanks to a recent breakthrough in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology by researchers from different University of California campuses.

People became exposed to BCI while watching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when a man paralyzed from the waist down was able to kick a ceremonial goal thanks to the assistance of a robotic exoskeleton suit.

But the 26-year-old man who tested the UC technology was the first paraplegic to walk again without the assistance of robotic limbs.

The man wore an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, which presses flat metal discs against the scalp that are able to measure electrical impulses from the brain. A small amplifyer took the feed from the EEG cap and wirelessly delivered it to a computer.

The computer uses an algorithm to suss out what signals are focused on the act of walking (or not walking, it’s just as important to get the message of stopping) and ignores signals related to any other act, such as talking or moving a different part of the body.

The computer then sent the signals related to walking to a microcontroller that the man was wearing.

If the microcontroller received signals for walking, it made electrodes placed around the knees begin muscle contractions, which then began the act of walking. When the man thought about not walking, the electrodes ceased the muscle contractions.

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