Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

Brain Implants Have Begun to Restore Functions, but Advances Are Slow

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
The work at the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center represents some of the most cutting-edge research in the brain-computer interface field.

Austin Beggin was paralyzed from the shoulders down eight years ago, but with the help of a brain implant, he has been able to do things he hadn’t been able to do since before his accident.

Credit: Daniel Lozada/The New York Times

A jumble of cords and two devices the size of soda cans protrude from Austin Beggin's head when he undergoes testing with a team of researchers studying brain implants that are meant to restore function to those who are paralyzed.

Despite the cumbersome equipment, it is also when Mr. Beggin feels the most free. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down after a diving accident eight years ago, and the brain device picks up the electrical surges that his brain generates as he envisions moving his arm. It converts those signals to cuffs on the major nerves in his arm. They allow him to do things he had not done on his own since the accident, like lift a pretzel to his mouth.

"This is like the first time I've ever gotten the opportunity or I've ever been privileged and blessed enough to think, 'When I want to open my hand, I open it,'" Mr. Beggin, 30, said. Days like that are always "a special day."

From The New York Times
View Full Article



No entries found