Tag: Medical Technology
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.
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).
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.”
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.
Grad student Chi Lu and colleagues demonstrate a highly flexible polymer probe for triggering spinal-cord neurons with light and simultaneously recording their activity.
MIT researchers have demonstrated a highly flexible neural probe made entirely of polymers that can both optically stimulate and record neural activity in a mouse spinal cord — a step toward developing prosthetic devices that can restore functionality to damaged nerves.
Technologies have long been focused on making it possible for paralyzed people to move again, particularly after the famous ‘Superman’ actor Christopher Reeve died 10 years ago. Although there’s no magic cure for it as of yet, Reeve’s son claims that the efforts made in the past decade would have definitely made him ‘excited’.
Brain-computer interfaces, electrical stimulation, exoskeletons and pharmaceutical therapies have made their mark in terms of restoring the mobility, and certain other functions of paralyzed individuals.
Neural prosthetics are getting so good that they can now automatically trigger natural movements in the legs. In a new experiment with paralyzed rats, scientists sent electrical signals to the spinal cord to mimic signals from the brain that could no long reach the limbs. This kind of research could lead to robot-assisted rehabilitation to help people with partial damage to their spinal cords learn to walk again.
A wireless system developed by Assistant Professor Ada Poon uses the same power as a cell phone to safely transmit energy to chips the size of a grain of rice. The technology paves the way for new “electroceutical” devices to treat illness or alleviate pain.
A Stanford electrical engineer has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body, and then use this power to run tiny electronic medical gadgets such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators or new sensors and devices yet to be developed.
Pressure sores are the leading source of infection, hospitalization and mortality for wheelchair users.
But a new wheelchair sensory system developed through a collaboration with SensiMAT Systems and the University of Toronto’s Professor Milos Popovic is poised to help.
“Take for example, the sad story of Christopher Reeve,” says Popovic. “After his injury Christopher Reeve and his foundation poured millions of dollars into stem cell research. But in the end, he died from a pressure sore that could have been prevented by this inexpensive solution.”
Once used by Christopher Reeve, it was developed in part with funding from the Rick Hansen Institute.
Gabriel Abotossaway doesn’t sound like he can’t breathe on his own.
On the phone from his home in Manitoulin Island, the 22-year-old sounds like most men his age. But Gabriel has required help breathing since a 2011 car accident rendered him a high-level quadriplegic. He’s unable to move his diaphragm and breathe independently.