Every day the scientific findings confirm how amazing is the brain, right now the technology can help people that have lost part of their body mobility, as hemiplegics or even paraplegics.
Australian scientists have developed a brain-machine interface that taps into the motor cortex through a relatively simple operation where a person won’t need to gamble with its health to have a permanent connection to robotics. The device which is known as a stentrode, would let directly steer an exoskeleton or artificial limb through thoughts alone, even if the implant is necessary for many months at a time.
It will become a reality in 2017. If it succeeds, it could bring mobility to paralyzed people that need more than a wheelchair, such as that can’t move any limbs. FINGAS, J. (2016). Brain machine link helps you steer exoskeletons with your mind. Engadget. [Online]. Available from: http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/08/brain-to-exoskeleton-interface/ [Accesed: 7th June 2016]
The Ekso device , which resembles an exoskeleton, helps the wearer walk of their own accord, by picking up small upper body movements and translating them into strides.
The project was originally funded by the American military interested in giving soldiers superhuman strength and ability on the battlefield.
But about five years ago the developers realised the legs had “huge potential, especially for people with spinal injuries”. They began working with rehabilitation clinics to tailor them for paraplegics, believing they could create a device that predicted a person’s walking intentions based on movements in the lower back.
Ekso is an alternative for paraplegics in terms of mobility since the invention of the wheelchair (around 500 years), that device offer the option to stand and walk for the first time since their injury, and it works with a sensors, that pretty much mimic the nerves, that sense the movements. These are then translated by a computer “brain” that “helps read the movements and drive forward motors that are sitting under the knees and the hips”. ADAMS, St. (2011). Robotic skeleton helps paraplegic walk. The Telegraph. [Online]. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8841836/Robotic-skeleton-helps-paraplegic-walk.html [Accesed: 7th June 2016]
From neuroscience to engineering, the brain is an important subject of study these days, furthermore all of them are involved in helping people to rescue the power that resides within his own brain.
Ruth Talavera Flores
Research Associate & IRIANS’s Representative for
the Iberian Peninsula and Mexico
IRIANS – The Neuroscience Institute