The groundbreaking mind-controlled device could help paralysed stroke patients move their hands again.
Worn over the hand, the brace developed by a team of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis allows patients to get a modicum of control back.
The study, published in the journal Stroke, explains that the uninjured areas of the patients’ brains were trained, using a brain-computer interface, to carry out functions previously done by the injured sections of the brain.
“We have shown that a brain-computer interface using the uninjured hemisphere can achieve meaningful recovery in chronic stroke patients,” said Eric Leuthardt, professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering, and co-author of the study to WIRED.
The team used a device called the Ipsihand to detect the patient’s intention to open or close their paralysed hand. Embedded electrodes are located along the moveable brace and allow to detect electrical signals in the brain.
“The idea is that if you can couple those motor signals associated with moving the same-sided limb with the actual movements of the hand, new connections will be made in your brain that allow the uninjured areas of your brain to take over control of the paralysed hand,” explained Leuthardt.
According to WIRED, participants were trained to use the Ipsihand at home at least five days a week, for 10 minutes, twice a day. Standard motor skills assessments were carried out at the beginning of the study and every two weeks throughout and patient’s scores increased by 6.2 points on a 57- point scale.
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