Thanks to an experimental device, Ian Burkhart – a 24-year old quadriplegic – can temporarily use his right hand. Through a chip in his brain, Burkhart can hold items like toothbrushes and credit cards, and even play certain video games (via. AP).
As reported by AP, Burkhart attends a lab once a week, that connects a computer that “interprets what movement he is trying to accomplish”, before sends them to his arm via “up to 160 electrodes”. Thus, the 24-year-old is enabled to move his fingers to play Frets on Fire – a video game resembling Guitar Hero.
Burkhart has likened the sensation this causes to a slight tingling in his arm. He mentioned the first few months of this experimental treatment were mentally draining due to the immense concentration moving the correct muscles required. He added, however, that the process has “gotten much easier” over time.
Researchers intend to make this technology wireless, moving the electrodes to the scalp instead of the brain, and making the external arm attachments into implants.