Paralyzed man walking again with the help of a digital brain bridge implant

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Gert-Jan Oskam who was left paralyzed after a spinal cord injury was able to walk again through a first-of-its-kind procedure. Doctors implanted a “digital brain bridge,” which helped the man transform thought into action.

A motorcycle accident left Oskam paralyzed in 2011 when he was living in China.

In Tuesday’s press briefing, Oskam said, “For 12 years I’ve been trying to get back my feet. Now I have learned how to walk normal, natural.”

He had previously had stimulation procedures which helped him to regain some ability to walk. But his condition had plateaued. And he claims stimulation technologies left him feeling that there was a disconnect in the process. He felt “an alien distance between his mind and body.”

The new interface changed everything.  “The stimulation before was controlling me, and now I’m controlling the stimulation,” he said.

Digital Brain Bridge connection

In a study published Wednesday in the online journal Nature, Swiss researchers detail a device that connects the intentions of a paralyzed patient to his physical movements.