Paralyzed Man Moves Again

Karly Halsey (12th), Reporter

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Everyday, technology is constantly being improved in order to better human life. 2017 has already brought many advances in this area.

One of which was a major improvement in technology for dealing with paralyzed limbs. This very important case was for a man by the name of Bill Kochevar, who had been paralyzed from the shoulders down for over eight years. What caused it was a bad bicycle accident back in 2006, resulting in him to not be able to do simple tasks such as feed himself or scratch a tickle on his face.

With the help of this new technological invention, called neuroprosthetic, Kochevar will now be able to move his right arm again just by thinking. Basically, the scientists replaced the old connection between his arm and brain with a new one. By doing so, they had to split the process into two separate parts.

The first thing was to implant an electrode array into his brain to detect brain signals. This was hooked up to a computer that displayed a virtual arm, so Kochevar could get the hang of learning how to control it. Within a few minutes he got it down, and after about four months of training, he was able to do small tasks very easily.

“It went very well very quickly. I learned how to do it right away, and got the hang of it better and better.” Kochevar stated.

The second step was to implant 36 electrodes that stimulate muscle movement. These will send electrical pulses into the muscles, causing them to contract and move. Then, the brain signals and contractions were connected, giving Kochevar full control over his arm movements. Although he does still need some support to hold up his arm, he has still been able to complete tasks that he hasn’t been able to for years.

This improvement will completely change Kochevar’s life around. He was lucky enough to be the first person to ever get to experience this. Although he currently has no actual feeling in his limbs, he can still perform tasks and will be able to do more for himself.

“For somebody who’s been injured eight years and couldn’t move, being able to move just that little bit is awesome to me. It’s better than I thought it would be.”
This technology is far from being perfect, but perhaps down the line will get closer and closer to being a very effective tool. 

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