A man who is at the center of a new project being conducted by researchers from the University of California Irvine is giving hope to people with spinal cord injuries who have lost their ability to move their limbs that they will be able to one day walk again. Paralyzed for five years, an unnamed 26-year old was able to walk on his own with only a harness to help support his weight.
What makes this achievement so groundbreaking is that he was able to move using his own brainwaves without an exoskeleton to hold up his frame. Instead, electrodes were attached directly to his muscles so that he could control them, bypassing his injured spinal cord.
First person paralysed from waist down to walk without use of robotics
For paraplegic Adam Fritz, the thrill of the computer-assisted first steps he took five years after being paralysed in a motorcycle crash came only after he was unhooked from the system that enabled him to walk briefly in a bioengineering lab.
During the experiment itself, Fritz recounted, he had to keep his mind focused entirely on placing one foot in front of the other as his brain waves were translated by a computer algorithm into impulses that bypassed his severed spinal cord and activated his legs.