To be not able to move your own body parts is quite frustrating and to be honest quite scary. However, sadly, there are people who have been through such situations as a result of which they are paralyzed and unable to move their body parts. One such person is Ian Burkhart who was paralyzed about 4 years back from the chest down when he dived, by mistake, onto a sandbank during his trip to beach. Thanks to the advances in science and technology the 23 year old was able to move his fingers for the first time since that accident by merely employing the power of thought!
This was achieved by incorporating a microchip in the brain of Ian, specifically speaking into the part of brain that is responsible for the movement of his arms and hands. The operation took place in April and Ian suffered severe headaches and was banned from watching TV and movies since the specialists did not want him to concentrate on anything. Anyhow, the power of thought has been made use of before as well in the past but it resulted in the movement of artificial limbs, however, this time the person in question was able to move his own paralyzed body part.
The microchip that has been installed is only 0.15” wide and contains 96 electrodes that are capable of reading thoughts. This particular chip was installed into a port into the Ian’s skull and then connected to a computer via computer lead. The electrodes work by deciphering the message that Ian sends to his brain and computer translates those messages into commands that are then conveyed to the intended recipient via ‘sleeve’ installed around his forearm and that contains more electrodes as compared to the chip.
The sleeve then stimulates the muscles in Ian’s hands forcing them to obey the brain’s commands. The response time from Ian thinking and his fingers moving was 1/10th of a second.
This breakthrough was achieved via collaborative effort that was made by surgeons and spinal specialists from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and engineers from Battelle. Those of you who are not aware; Battelle is a non-profit company pertaining to engineering also responsible for the creation of Neurobridge – a virtual spinal cord that employs microchip technology.
Ian Burkhart said; ‘Today was great. To be able to open and close my hand and do those complex movements that I haven’t been able to do for four years was great. Physically, it was a foreign feeling. Emotionally it was definitely a sense of hope and excitement to know that it’s possible.’
Reading about such milestones being achieved by science and technology sure is great, don’t you think? Leave your responses in the comments section to let us know what you think of this story!