Floating on the web I find an article on the Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation website (Not sure how I got there. So don’t ask.) whose headline catches my attention, The feasibility of a brain-computer interface functional electrical stimulation system for the restoration of overground walking after paraplegia. So I think the article is basically saying how feasible would it be to make a paralyzed man walk using a computer. As I read on I find that has become very feasible.
Well the University of California has been researching this question and has made it possible. How was it done? The scientists used a computer to link 28-year-old Adam Fritz’s brain to his legs over, get this, a Bluetooth connection. The idea here is bypass the severed region of his spinal cord to in effect complete the missing connection by using an EEG to pick up the signals from his brain which were sent by a B.C.I. (brain control interface) computer to electrodes on his knee(s). I found a youtube video of it and the guy was supported and did walk about maybe 13 feet. Even so this is like a very cool thing. What comes to mind is stuff I have seen in movies, you know, and how movie theory is literally coming true. From what I read paralyzed patients have only been able to walk through the use of some sort of bionic suit. (The Million Dollar Man)
The article mentions alot of training involved and if I read it right (which took awhile to make sense of…lol) the participant had to go through hours of training before and after final testing. So Fritz basically had to go through alot of physical rehab to strengthen his muscles and learn how to use the BCI device. The article talks about a “decoded model” which translates to me as some sort of virtual figure of maybe a person, an avatar of sorts. (Cool he was playing a game with his head.) Here check out the video:
I would again say this is getting more and more feasible because today I found another article that says that Case Western Reserve University has attempted the same thing and have been able to allow a patient the use of his arms using the same idea. You can read more on this if you click here. Yeah I was geeking out today.