Brain Chip Gives Paralyzed Man Control Of His Hand

A paralyzed man has regained partial use of his right hand after a chip was implanted into his brain.

Ian Burkhart, 24, has been quadriplegic for the last five years after diving into shallow water. In a world first, electronic sensors have sent signals from his brain to his muscles, to allow him to grasp and pour a bottle, pick up a stick, and even play the video game Guitar Hero.

“It reinstated a lot of hope that people with my kind of injury won’t just have to settle,” Burkhart said in a statement. “Since then, we’ve been able to do a bunch of things that someone with my kind of injury should not be able to do.”

Burkhart has spent the last two years taking part in a study at Ohio State University involving neural bypass technology.

Surgery was performed on Burkhart to implant a flexible chip that detects electrical activity in his brain when he thinks about moving his hand. A cable then transmits the signals to a computer, which in turn transmits electrical impulses that stimulate his muscles.

“We’re showing for the first time that a quadriplegic patient is able to improve his level of motor function and hand movements,” said Ali Rezai, a neurosurgeon at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and co-author of the study that details the technology.

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