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COLUMBUS -- A new device allows a paralyzed man to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts. The device is called Neurobridge and is able to reconnect the brain directly to paralyzed muscles, enabling controlled and functional movement. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle, a technological development company, partnered to develop this technology.

"It's much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we're actually bypassing electrical signals," said Battelle research leader Chad Bouton. "We're taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles."

The Neurobridge technology combines algorithms that learn and decode the user's brain activity and a high-definition muscle stimulation sleeve that translates neural impulses from the brain to transmit new signals to the paralyzed limb.

Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study.

"It's definitely great for me to be as young as I am when I was injured because the advancements in science and technology are growing rapidly and they're going to continue to increase," Burkhart said.

Neurobridge is able to bypass Burkhart's injured spinal cord and move his hand. A tiny chip surgically implanted onto the motor cortex of Burkhart's brain interprets brain signals and sends them to a computer, which tells the stimulation sleeve to move his muscles.

Battelle also developed a wearable sleeve that allows small muscles in the arm to move, enabling individual movement with a non-invasive software that acts as a virtual spinal cord. The Neurobridge technology hopes to one day help those affected by various brain and spinal cord injuries.

Follow WKYC's Monica Robins on Twitter: @MonicaRobins


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