Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk

LA Times reports developments from Duke University, where “brain science and engineering are being merged in a bid to create a full-body prosthetic device that would allow those immobilized by injury to walk again.

The full article can be read here, but in essence the group have just declared the clearing of a key hurdle so that they can now supply the sensation of touch directly to the brains of monkeys. The article states; “For a person with a spinal cord injury, sending such orchestrated bursts of electrical information to the brain could do more than allow a patient who has lost sensation to experience the pleasures of touch again. It could provide the necessary sensory feedback for the user of a prosthetic walker to navigate uneven terrain and steer clear of dangers such as hot or slippery surfaces.”

The group, comprising Dr Miguel Nicolelis and collaborators including engineers, neuroscientists and physiologists from Brazil, Switzerland, Germany and the United States — are working toward an ambitious objective on the opening day of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, when they hope to send a young quadriplegic striding out to midfield to open the games, suited up in the “prosthetic exoskeleton” they aim to build.

Source: LA Times