A woman who is paralysed from the neck down has stunned doctors with her extraordinary skill at using a robotic arm that is controlled by her thoughts alone.
The 52-year-old patient, called Jan, lost the use of her limbs more than 10 years ago to a degenerative disease that damaged her spinal cord. The disruption to her nervous system was the equivalent to having a broken neck.
But in training sessions at the University of Pittsburgh, doctors found she quickly learned to make fluid movements with the brain-controlled robotic arm, reaching levels of performance never seen before.
Doctors recruited the woman to test a robotic arm that is controlled by a new kind of computer program that translates the natural brain activity used to move our limbs into commands to move the robotic arm.
The design is intended to make the robotic arm more intuitive for patients to use. Instead of having to think where to move the arm, a patient can simply focus on the goal, such as “pick up the ball”. Read more from this story HERE.