This is the first BMI to restore movement and touch simultaneously
Ten years ago, while on vacation in North Carolina, Ian Burkhart broke his neck in a diving accident. The diagnosis was as life-changing as the injury: a complete spinal cord injury in the cervical spine. An injury of this nature often results in paraplegia. Burkhart might regain some movement and sensation in his shoulders and upper arm, doctors said. But the chances of ever moving his hands again were slim.
After twelve months, eight patients and 2,052 sessions spread over 1,958 hours, Duke University is publishing some promising results from a study seeking to demonstrate the ability for brain-machine interfaces to help restore mobility in humans.
The study, which appeared this week in Scientific Reports, looked at a group of paraplegic patients suffering from a chronic spinal cord injury. The system utilized a brain-machine interface featuring an Oculus Rift headset that simulated the effect of having a neurological connection to their lower limbs. The system was also capable of moving a pair of robotic actuators to actually create movement.