Cleveland researchers say an experimental technology is enabling a patient paralyzed below his shoulders to move again just by thinking.
Bill Kochevar is doing things he never thought he would do again, like grabbing this mug and taking a sip and eating mashed potatoes.
"It was like the lightbulb went off and said this really is possible because before that I thought I would never move my arms again," said Kochevar.
The 56-year-old was paralyzed below his shoulders eight years ago in a bicycle accident. Now he's using an experimental technology that allows him to move his hand and arm simply by thinking.
Electrodes are implanted in the brain that record signals of his intended movements.
A computer interprets the information and electrodes implanted in the arm are stimulated.
"So he thinks about a movement, we record from the brain signals. We figure out what he was trying to do and then we make his arm do that by stimulating it," said Dr. Robert Kirsch, Case Western Reserve University.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University believe Bill is the first quadriplegic to have his arm and hand movements restored.
"These individuals are basically lacking dependence almost completely or totally reliant on others for everything they do and even giving them these simple functions is really meaningful to them," said Kirsch.
Bill uses the system in the lab three times a week, but work is underway to use the technology in everyday life.
"When they actually create the small computer that can hang on the side that I can go anywhere and use my arms so that would be spectacular," said Kochevar.
Researchers say that could be possible in two to three years.
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