Overcoming Paralysis with Prosthetics

Electrode implants grant sensation of touch

10 years after a car crash left Nathan Copeland partially paralyzed, he felt sensation again through a prosthetic connected to his brain via four electrodes, giving him a workable “third arm” for the duration of the study. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers implanted the chips into the correct locations using brain imaging maps, allowing electrical impulses to be sent to the parts of the brain that handle mobility and sensation. During the study, Nathan was able to manipulate, move, and feel sensation in each individual finger of the prosthetic robot arm as if they were his own. This is the first time a group has managed to recreate sensation in an individual with paralysis, marking a leap forward in prosthetic technology.

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