May 26, 2024

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New hope for Paralysis: A man wears brain-computer interface for seven years

New hope for Paralysis: A man wears brain-computer interface for seven years


New hope for Paralysis: A man wears brain-computer interface for seven years.


A cure for paralysis? An American man wears brain-computer interface for seven years and sets record. 

It was reported on August 18 that 36-year-old Nathan Kopenan has lived with the brain-computer interface for 7 years and 3 months, and he is also the person who has worn the implanted device for the longest time in the world .

After a car accident and quadriplegia, he underwent brain-computer interface surgery. The operation allowed him to control external equipment: a computer, video games and a robotic arm that he could move with his mind.


New hope for Paralysis: A man wears brain-computer interface for seven years

Nathan Kopenan started working with brain-computer interfaces in 2015


A car accident in 2004 left Copenan paralyzed from the chest down.

In 2014, he didn’t hesitate to sign up for a University of Pittsburgh study of severely injured spinal cord patients to see whether a brain-computer interface could restore his lost bodily function .


At the time, no one knew how long the device would last. “When I started, they said it might last five years,” and the five-year conclusion was actually based on data from monkey experiments that had not been tried in humans before .


Now that eight years have passed, Kopenan, the first to eat crabs, said that the implants in the brain are still working normally without causing any serious side effects or corresponding complications , which undoubtedly marks the development hope in the field of brain-computer interface.


Brain-computer interface technology has been in the development and experimental stage since the 1960s, and now it may be expected to enter the treatment of severely disabled patients and achieve commercialization. Jane Huggins, director of the Direct Brain Interface Laboratory at the University of Michigan, also said, “It feels like it’s on the verge of being useful.”


It’s worth noting, however, that there are still question marks over the long-term durability of the implanted array. How much will their performance diminish over time?  Can they be updated? 

Jane Huggins points out, “It’s maddening to fail after a few years of functionality. It’s always a problem with implants that may need repair.”


Kopenan had the first array implanted in 2015, and three more have since been implanted as part of the study. The four implanted arrays are called the Utah Array .

Because neurons generate electric fields as they communicate with each other, scientists are able to use these arrays to capture and record the activity of hundreds of nearby neurons and translate those neural signals into digital commands that allow the wearer to drive a prosthetic or computer .


According to scientific research, the brain-computer interface refers to the connection established between the human or animal brain and a computer or other electronic devices, enabling direct interaction between the brain and external devices, and can be used to treat patients with neurological diseases .


In 2004, Matt Nagle became the first paralyzed person to be implanted with the Utah Array, and he was able to move a computer cursor, operate a TV and check email after surgery.

A year later, Nagel’s implants were removed under the protocol of the study he was involved in. More than 30 study participants around the world now wear the implanted brain-computer interface.


In Kopenan’s case, his array was still working, but the effects began to wane compared to the first year after implantation, members of Kopenan’s research team said. ” Because the human body is repulsive, it is very difficult to put into electronic and engineering systems .”



New hope for Paralysis: A man wears brain-computer interface for seven years

(source:internet, reference only)

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