New short film describes Wyss Center vision to help people with paralysis

Our vision of the future

A system that would enable paralysed people to move again by thought alone is the goal of a major Wyss Center-led project.

The team is working to accelerate the development of an implantable neurocommunicator that can control a robotic arm, or a paralyzed limb, and help restore independence for people with severe paralysis, neurological disease or limb loss.

Created by global scientific communication agency, Random42, the new computer animation demonstrates the Wyss Center’s Neurocomm project in which a brain computer interface restores movement in a paralysed arm.

The animation shows a microelectrode array in the brain connected to a processing unit inserted on the skull, under the scalp.

This unit communicates wirelessly with electrodes in the arm. These stimulate nerves that activate muscles and move the paralysed limb, enabling the paralyzed person to reach for a glass of water and drink once more.

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a wireless neural communication link to overcome the break between the brain and body caused by injury to the spinal cord, brain or nerves. Such a device would enable people to directly control their own paralyzed limbs through thought alone.

The device would also play an important role in epilepsy monitoring, seizure control and other areas that would benefit from brain computer interface technology.