The little high-tech sleeve that could…

News story clip-art icon“I think I can, I think I can!” – said the little red train engine, er no, said Ian Burkhart, a Quadriplegic who has, according to tech-site Giz-Mag, been “given the ability to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to the implantation of an electronic device in his brain and muscle stimulation sleeve.”

The technology is a neurostimulation system dubbed “Neurobridge,” which essentially bypasses the damaged spinal cord and reconnects the brain directly to the muscles.

The article states:

Neurobridge is the only system claimed so far to bypass the spinal cord and provide direct stimulation of a human patient’s muscles using their own thoughts. The first patient to use the Neurobridge neural bypass device is Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old from Dublin, Ohio, who was paralyzed four years ago in a diving accident. Burkhart saw the chance to participate in the FDA-approved clinical trial at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center as a possible way to help other people suffering spinal cord injuries.


Burkhart had the Neurobridge device – a micro-chip sensor smaller than a pea – implanted onto the motor cortex area of his brain in a three-hour operation earlier this year. “The surgery required the precise implantation of the micro-chip sensor in the area of Ian’s brain that controls his arm and hand movements,” Wexner Center clinician Dr. Ali Rezai said.

Following the operation, the researchers worked on a way to arrange the correct sequence of electrodes to stimulate to permit Burkhart to move his fingers and hand in a functional manner. Unlike other devices that merely stimulate gross-motor areas to provide muscle tension, the Neurobridge device specifically targets individual muscles matched to individual neural impulses.

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