Paralyzed Man Able To Walk Again Using Only His Thoughts For The First Time In Massive Scientific Breakthrough

By Abdul Rafay in Science and Technology On 25th May 2023
Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

A number of things that were once unimaginable are now possible because of technological and scientific developments over the past few years.

Artificial intelligence, also referred to as AI, has advanced significantly to the point where some people are even concerned about it consuming the entire globe.

Although advances in space technology have also been made recently, this particular scientific advance may be the most fulfilling because it is also the one that most directly affects people.

Follow On Google News
Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Science has helped a man regain his ability to walk after his brain and spinal cord were able to communicate once more.

In 2011, while riding a bike in China, Gert-Jan Oskam, 40, broke his neck in a traffic accident, and doctors told him he would never be able to walk again.

But since then, he's been able to walk farther than 100 meters at a time for the first time since his life-altering procedure, as well as climb the stairs.

Follow On Twitter

In just a few days, Oskam observed a significant improvement in his mobility thanks to a wireless "digital bridge."

But exactly how does it operate?

The device is referred to as a brain-computer interface and consists of two electrical implants, one in the spinal cord and one in the brain.

The first implant is positioned over the part of the brain that regulates how our legs move, which can control the electrical signals that are produced when we think about walking.

The spinal cord region that regulates the legs is covered by the second implant.

Oksam never imagined he would be able to walk again after his accident 12 years ago, but this experience has changed his life.

"A few months ago, I was able, for the first time after 10 years, to stand up and have a beer with my friends," the man from the Netherlands said.

"That was pretty cool. I want to use it in my daily life."

We've been able to use a digital bridge to restore the connection between the brain and the area of the spinal cord that regulates leg movement, according to Prof. Jocelyne Bloch, a neurosurgeon at Lausanne University Hospital and one of those directing the experiment.

The technology might "capture Gert-Jan's thoughts and translate those thoughts into stimulation of the spinal cord to re-establish voluntary leg movements," the professor continued.

Although Oksam is the only person who has utilized the digital bridge thus far, it is hoped that in the future, arm and hand functions will also be restored thanks to the technology.