Home News AI-assisted brain implant aids patient in regaining sensation and mobility

AI-assisted brain implant aids patient in regaining sensation and mobility

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AI brain implant

Keith Thomas, a New Yorker, suffered a motor vehicle accident in 2020 that severely damaged his C4 and C5 spinal vertebrae, causing him to lose sensation and movement from the chest down. However, recent events have seen Thomas able to voluntarily move his arm and experience the touch of his sister holding his hand, courtesy of AI brain implant technology created by Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine.

Initially, the team of researchers invested several months to map Thomas’s brain through MRI scans to accurately identify the specific brain regions controlling the movement of his arm and the tactile sensation in his hands. Approximately four months prior, Thomas underwent a fifteen-hour surgery, where microchips were embedded into his brain. Interestingly, Thomas remained conscious for certain segments of the operation to provide immediate feedback on the sensations he felt in his hand as the surgeons explored his brain.

Along with the in-body microchips, the team installed external ports atop Thomas’s head. These ports interface with a computer running specially designed AI algorithms that interpret his thoughts and transform them into actions. The research team refers to this strategy as “thought-driven therapy,” as it is initiated by the patient’s intention. When Thomas thinks about moving his hand, for example, his brain implant communicates these signals to the computer, which in turn sends signals to the electrode patches placed on his spine and hand muscles to provoke movement. Sensors were also affixed to his fingertips and palms to stimulate sensations.

Thanks to this novel system, Thomas was able to voluntarily move his arm and feel his sister’s hand gripping his own in the lab. Though he required a connection to the computer for these initial achievements, researchers have noted signs of improvement in Thomas even when the system is off. Reportedly, his arm strength has more than doubled since the commencement of the study, and he can feel new sensations in his forearm and wrist. If everything proceeds smoothly, the research team’s thought-driven therapy could assist him in regaining further tactile sensation and mobility.

Despite the long journey still ahead, the team believes this method could revolutionize the lives of those living with paralysis. Chad Bouton, the inventor of the technology and the lead investigator of the clinical trial, stated:

“This marks the first occasion where a paralyzed human’s brain, body, and spinal cord have been electronically interlinked to restore lasting movement and sensation. When our study participant contemplates moving his arm or hand, we ‘supercharge’ his spinal cord and stimulate his brain and muscles to aid in reestablishing connections, provide sensory feedback, and promote recovery. This form of thought-driven therapy is a significant breakthrough. Our ultimate aim is to employ this technology to empower individuals living with paralysis to lead fuller, more independent lives.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI brain implant

Who is Keith Thomas and what happened to him?

Keith Thomas is an individual from New York who was involved in a car accident in 2020, resulting in damage to his C4 and C5 spinal vertebrae. This caused him to lose all sensation and movement from his chest down.

How is AI being used to help Keith Thomas?

An AI-enabled brain implant developed by the Feinstein Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at Northwell Health was used to help Keith regain feeling and movement. The implant works by interpreting Keith’s thoughts to stimulate movement and sensation, a process referred to as “thought-driven therapy.”

What process did the researchers use to implement the AI brain implant?

The researchers began by using MRI scans to map Keith’s brain, identifying the specific parts responsible for arm movement and hand sensation. Then, they surgically implanted microchips into these regions of his brain. External ports were also installed on top of his head to connect to a computer that uses AI algorithms to interpret his thoughts and turn them into actions.

How effective has the AI brain implant been for Keith Thomas?

The AI brain implant has allowed Keith to move his arm voluntarily and feel sensations such as his sister holding his hand. Beyond these lab-controlled actions, Keith has also shown improvement in arm strength and sensation when the system is not actively engaged, indicating some degree of natural recovery.

What are the future prospects for this AI brain implant technology?

The researchers are optimistic about the potential of this AI brain implant technology. They hope it can change the lives of people living with paralysis by helping them regain sensation and movement. They believe the approach could lead to people with paralysis leading fuller, more independent lives.

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TechieTom August 2, 2023 - 9:58 am

ai is really changing everything, isnt it? Next we’ll be hearing about chips giving us superpowers lol

Hopeful_Harry August 2, 2023 - 11:03 am

Wow! just wow! This gives hope for so many people out there dealing with paralysis. Lets hope the future studies go well too.

Sarah_1982 August 2, 2023 - 3:11 pm

This is incredible! Feels like we’re livin in a sci-fi movie or something… science is amazing! keep it up guys!

Mike_FitnessFanatic August 2, 2023 - 4:37 pm

Can’t believe what I’m reading, this guy could not move and now he can? Unbelievable! Science is beyond crazy these days.

HumanityFirst August 2, 2023 - 8:30 pm

This is good news and all but shouldnt we be careful? I mean playing around with the human brain feels risky


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