If eye-gaze technology, motion sensor tracking and functional electrical stimulation sound like secret weapons of the CIA, you’d be half right. Much of the newfangled equipment in use for those with medical disabilities came out of technology originally designed for the government. Now, it’s helping injured and ill people with life’s basic needs.
Former Saints player Steve Gleason, diagnosed with ALS in 2011, propels his custom wheelchair with only a glance.
“I have an infrared eye tracker that is connected to my laptop and serves as my control center,” said Gleason. Continue Reading »
Newly developed “glassy carbon” electrodes transmit more robust signals to restore motion in people with damaged spinal cords.
When people suffer spinal cord injuries and lose mobility in their limbs, it’s a neural signal processing problem. The brain can still send clear electrical impulses and the limbs can still receive them, but the signal gets lost in the damaged spinal cord. Continue Reading »
TOKYO — Japan’s health ministry approved on Wednesday sale of a wearable walk-assist robot for use in medical facilities, underscoring the government’s push to promote such products as part of growth strategy.
The HAL for Medical Use, lower limb type, from startup Cyberdyne is the first wearable medical robot approved for sale in Japan.
The product is designed for use in healthcare facilities by patients with eight incurable conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, given height and weight requirements. Continue Reading »
New software sifts through the information gathered in long forgotten studies and finds new avenues for researchers to pursue—like a new advance in treating spinal injuries.
Doctors have just discovered a previously unknown relationship between the long-term recovery of spinal cord injury victims and high blood pressure during their initial surgeries. This may seem like a small bit of medical news—though it will have immediate clinical implications—but what’s important is how it was discovered in the first place. Continue Reading »
Denny Ross – paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident – has gone from counting his steps to counting kilometres, attempting to finish a five kilometre race with the use of a ReWalk exoskeleton on Saturday.
“It’s a huge step,” he said with a laugh while taking part in the N.E.R.D. Run at William Hawrelak Park, an annual fundraiser supporting the University of Alberta’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute.
Ross has been using the exoskeleton as part of a pilot study examining the effects of using the ReWalk device, purchased by the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Society in 2014 and leased to the university for the trial. Continue Reading »
Revolutionizing Prosthetics program achieves goal of restoring sensation
A 28-year-old who has been paralyzed for more than a decade as a result of a spinal cord injury has become the first person to be able to “feel” physical sensations through a prosthetic hand directly connected to his brain, and even identify which mechanical finger is being gently touched.
The advance, made possible by sophisticated neural technologies developed under DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics points to a future in which people living with paralyzed or missing limbs will not only be able to manipulate objects by sending signals from their brain to robotic devices, but also be able to sense precisely what those devices are touching. Continue Reading »
The Rick Hansen Foundation reported 86,000 people in Canada living with a spinal cord injury. Ashley Dalrymple, who hails from Wetaskiwin, is a student at the University of Alberta conducting research to help patients struggling with such injuries.
Dalrymple is a masters of science student based in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and holds an undergraduate degree from the U of A in electrical biomedical engineering. Soon she will be transferring to a PhD program to continue her work. Her current research project uses a technology invented by the university lab she is working in, called intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS). Continue Reading »
Swiss scientists demonstrated a flexible ribbon-like implant that attaches itself to a paralyzed rat’s spinal cord, allowing the animal to walk again. The prosthetic, described by foremost experts in the field as ‘remarkable’, works by delivering timed electrical impulses and drugs along the spinal cord. In this particular case, rats aren’t that different from humans, and true enough clinical trials are now one step closer. In the future, paralysis might just be another word for “walking funny.” Continue Reading »
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Experimental wheelchairs and exoskeletons controlled by thought alone offer surprising insights into the brain, neuroscientists reported on Monday.
New technologies offer a window into how the brain creates movement.
Best known for his experimental exoskeleton that helped a paralyzed man kick the opening ball for June’s World Cup in Brazil, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis presented the latest “brain-machine interface” findings from his team’s “Walk Again Project” at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. Continue Reading »