WATCH fully paralyzed man walk again using BRAIN-CONTROLLED exoskeleton prototype
The 28-year-old quadraplegic, identified only as Thibault, has spent the last two years testing the hi-tech suit at the Clinatec research center in Grenoble, France, which has allowed him to get back on his feet after a severe accident in 2015 left his spinal cord severed.
The Clinatec center showed off some of its breakthroughs on Friday in new video footage, demonstrating how the futuristic technology works in action.
Before the tests began, Thibault had two brain implants installed in order to transmit a signal, and practiced movements on virtual simulators which helped to “decode” his brain waves and generate an algorithm for the robotic suit. Since starting real trials with the exoskeleton, he has been able to walk more than 100 meters in total.
“This isn’t about turning man into machine, but about responding to a medical problem,” Alim-Louis Benabid, co-author of a new study on the exoskeleton published in the Lancet Neurology journal, told Reuters.
We’re talking about ‘repaired man,’ not ‘augmented man.’
The technology, while impressive, is still a long way from everyday use, however. Tom Shakespeare, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said a “proof of concept is a long way from usable clinical possibility,” and warned of the dangers of “hype.”
Nevertheless, Thibault remains optimistic about the new technology’s potential, which he said sends a “message of hope to people like me,” adding “This is possible, even with our handicap.”
I can’t go home tomorrow in my exoskeleton, but I’ve got to a point where I can walk.
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