Science

Chip in Brain Control Hand Movements in Paralyzed Patient

Ian barge from Ohio is the first quadriplegic person in the world who can move his own hand again by thoughts. For example in order to pour water. A chip in his brain collects the movement patterns and sends them to a cuff on the forearm.

He has a pea-size computer chip in brain and yet he is doing great. A diving accident lock Ian Burkhart 20 years ago mobility in right hand. Now his spinal cord was cut on height of the fifth and sixth cervical vertebra. A clear case of spinal cord injury and hopelessness.

Chip in Brain Control Hand Movements recover arms and legs.

Mini computer chip in the brain area was inserted in April 2014, controls the movement of the right hand and processes data for further development.

Nerve impulses run at a spinal cord injury into nothingness

In a spinal cord injury, nerve impulses of the brain suddenly run into nothingness. But the nerve cells above and below the severing area. Chip is fully functional. Researchers of the Institute have Ian Ohio State University and the Batelle Memorial Burkhart implanted a chip exactly in the place of the brain, which is responsible for the control of hand movements.

 Ohio State University
Burkhart can play now a guitar video game. Photo: Ohio State University

They identified this region of the brain by let prior to surgery videos of hand movements consider Burkhart and in whose brain activities observed.

Learning software developed and upgrades

Thanks to the implanted chip, scientists could read with the characteristic activity patterns in the brain, if Burkhart, for example introduced himself to open the right hand. In the course of time, the researchers developed a learning software that can decode these characteristic patterns in brain activity. “In the past ten years we have learned, to decipher the brain signals of completely paralyzed patients”, says Chad Bouton, who led the Batelle team during the study.

Made 130 electrodes for the forearm cuff

Then it went to the implementation of the learned: the scientists tinkered a cuff with 130 electrodes that attached it to the Burkharts forearm. Then, they determined the impulses that were necessary to animate the muscles under the skin to the movements required by barge. In June 2014 succeeded for the first time, only to open the cuff-reinforced hand with his thoughts and to close again.

Ian barge mastered six different movements

Today Ian can control individually his fingers barge with the commands of his brain. He mastered six different movements of the hand and wrist, he can play a guitar video game and pull out a credit card through a reader.

Ian is full of confidence that his life through these thoughts control improved sustainably Burkhart: “now I know first hand that there is progress in science and technology that will make my life better.

The future belongs to wireless systems

Ali Rezai, Project Manager
Ali Rezai, Project Manager

Ian barge is the first patient worldwide, where this technology the hand control works through thoughts and cuff. The whole thing is however still quite archaic. Because the information is transmitted to the pea in the brain wired to a computer, Burkhard can control his hand only in the laboratory by thoughts. Involved in the study, the neurosurgeon Ali Rezai – Ohio State University thinking ahe96ad: “We hope that this technology will develop to a wireless system that connects brain signals and thoughts to the outside world.”