From Professor Miguel Nicolelis’ lab at Duke University in North Carolina – the team of researchers behind the exoskeleton which enabled a paraplegic patient to kick off the 2014 football World Cup – now comes news of two rhesus macaques which have been taught to control a wheelchair using thought alone. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday. Continue reading
Scientists in Australia have developed a ‘bionic spine’. This device has successfully been tested in sheep and will be implanted in three patients next year. If it works, it will allow paralysed patients to regain movement using subconscious thought.
Traditionally, devices to directly stimulate the brain require invasive surgery, as for example in the deep brain stimulation treatment of Parkinson’s disease developed using non-human primate research. But in this study, researchers successfully inserted the bionic spine in sheep by inserting it in the neck and then guiding it through blood vessels. Because of this blood vessel delivery method, the researchers chose to test the device in sheep, as they have similar brain vasculature to humans. Continue reading