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


Implants provide a digital brain bridge between Mr. Oskam’s brain and his spinal cord. This bypasses the injured sections to link to the part of the brain that controls movement, and another to the spinal cord. 

Implant technology allows Oskam, 40, to stand, walk and ascend a ramp with the assistance of a walker. 

More than a year after the implant was surgically injected, he is walking again. He shows signs of neurological recovery. And is able to walk with crutches even when the implant is switched off.

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Jocelyne Bloch, a neuroscientist at the University of Lausanne who placed the implant in Mr. Oskam, added, “It was quite science fiction in the beginning for me, but it became true today.”

In Nature, the brain-spine interface is detailed by researchers. Using an artificial intelligence thought decoder it was able to read Mr. Oskam’s intentions. It sends electrical signals in his brain that match muscle movements. 

Thought to intention to action, creates natural movement. Dr. Courtine described the only addition as the digital bridge spanning the injured parts of the spine.