Monica Daubon

You may have heard of the story between the monkey and the prosthetic arm. If not, here it is: A chimpanzee was taught to use a joystick to control a prosthetic arm. After a few months of getting the chimpanzee into this habit, the researchers disconnected the joystick. Although the joystick had no technical connection to the prosthetic arm, the chimpanzee was still able to move to arm with his brain. It may seem like a fable, but recent research may encourage you to believe more in the power of the brain.

A new technology that is as big as a microSD card may be the answer to how paralyzed people are regaining control of their body. A little chip, no bigger than the tip of your finger, has been implanted into the motor cortex part of the human brain. This chip acts as a mailman for the brain. The chip transmits the brain’s data (the patient’s thoughts) to a computer software program which then sends the patient’s thoughts to a forearm cuff. This forearm cuff contains electrodes that stimulate muscle movements (see picture below for visual image). So, if a paralyzed person thinks about moving his index finger up, his thoughts will be transmitted by this new technology into the electrodes in the armband, stimulating movement in his finger. This chip is the neurobridge to allowing communication to muscles for the paralyzed.

This website shows numerous stories of how the paralyzed are using this new technology gain movement in their body:

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