Scientists of École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland created implants that established a wireless connection between brains and legs for two partly paralyzed monkeys. The brain implant senses the brain activity and passes those signals wirelessly to a second implant in the body below the point of spinal cord injury, which sends impulses to stimulate the muscles, Joinfo.com reports with reference to the publication in Nature magazine.
In this way, the missing link in the chain will be as it was before the trauma. Two rhesus macaques restored movement in their legs within two weeks after injury. One of them was able to walk within six days (watch the video).
The main goal of the scientists is to use this technology for humans with spine injuries, but is going to bring many challenges than using it in monkeys.
What makes it difficult that the motor cortex, the area of the brain that controls the legs, is much deeper in human brains.
In addition, the control of the legs in humans is also extremely complex. But the fact that they succeeded to convert brain signals into leg movements, is already a breakthrough in itself, according to experts.
“But we must be realistic, this technique will not provide the complete healing, but it could vastly improve the quality of life,” the scientists said.