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11.13.19
Exoskeleton Engage

Watch a Paralyzed Man “Walk” Using a Mind-Reading Exoskeleton

October 4th 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
Clinatec

First Steps

A French man was able to regain control over all four of his paralyzed limbs thanks to a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit, the BBC reports.

A video shows 30-year-old Thibault (last name redacted) wearing the bulky 143-pound exoskeleton, which hangs from a support rail attached to the ceiling. In the clip, he walks across the room and moves both of his arms in all directions.

“It was like [being the] first man on the Moon,” Thibault told the BBC. “I didn’t walk for two years. I forgot what it is to stand, I forgot I was taller than a lot of people in the room.”

Brain Tech

The suit is the result of a partnership between French biomedical research center Clinatec and the University of Grenoble, France.

Thibault controls the device using two brain implants that monitor the part of the brain responsible for movement. The implants pick up the brain signals and send instructions to a nearby computer, which then translates the signals into movement. This video from The Lancet shows how it works:

Walking Support

While impressive, the tech still has a long way to go. At this stage, it’s more of a proof-of-concept than a practical solution to paralysis.

The team is hoping to get a more detailed map of the brain implants’ readings and a more powerful computer to improve the responsiveness of the suit — but they’re already encouraged by their results.

“This is in [the] direction of giving better quality of life,” Benabid told the BBC.

READ MORE: Paralysed man moves in mind-reading exoskeleton [BBC]

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