Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neuropass, an electronic neural bypass for spinal injuries that joins the brain directly to the muscles of a given paralyzed limb, giving the patient voluntary and functional control of the limb.
This video shows Burkhart using the technology for the first time.
The technology works by using a tiny sensor chip implanted in Burkhart’s brain to bypass his spinal cord and connect directly to a specialized sleeve on his forearm. The sleeve produces movement within a tenth of a second.
“It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals,” Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle Memorial Institute, says in an Ohio State University release. “We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles.”
As for Burkhart, he tells The Telegraph, The emotion of moving my hand again for the first time in four years was amazing. I was very excited.”
“It actually did work and could one day soon become commonplace for people like me … I always knew in the back of my mind that there was going to be some sort of medical breakthrough that would help. I didn t know when it was going to happen – and I never thought it would be so soon.