Paralyzed patient walks with an exoskeleton controlled by the brain

A French man has returned to walking after having been paralyzed following an accident thanks to a brain-controlled exoskeleton according to the scientists who invented it.

The same doctors and engineers who created the device, while admitting that a possible use for the public is still many years away, believe that this device has “the potential to improve the quality of life and autonomy of patients.”

The patient in question had an accident four years ago when he fell from a height of 12 meters.┬áThe incident severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from his shoulders down. Experts from the Grenoble Alpes hospital, from Clinatec, a company in the biomedical field, and from the CEA research center have first implanted two devices on the patient’s head connected to the brain.

These devices read the signals of the cortex motor sense and these same signals are then translated by an algorithm. The algorithm then sends the physical commands to the exoskeleton that executes them.

To “train the algorithm” the patient had to use, using the signals of his brain, a sort of avatar in a computer simulation to acquire the necessary skills.

This new system, beyond the exoskeleton, could also help to build a wheelchair controlled by the brains of paralyzed patients.