Clinatec: A brain-computer interface helps a paraplegic man walk again

Clinatec: A brain-computer interface helps a paraplegic man walk again

It is a worldwide first: Paraplegic after a bicycle accident, Gert-Jan, 40 is the first man with a brain implant controlled by a helmet , allowing him to restore control of his legs.

It was develop developed by Clinatec—The Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center, and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.
The breakthrough technology resides in a digital bridge called WIMAGINE® which can bypass the damaged neural tissues. The emitter is implanted in the brain, the receptor in the spinal cord, and they communicate via wireless link and under the control of the person, who wears a special helmet.

Jocelyne Bloch, neurosurgeon at the Université de Lausanne, claims that similar strategies could be used for other clinical cases to restore motor functions, after a stroke or for patients suffering Parkinson disease.

Guillaume Charvet, in charge of the BCI program at the CEA, explains that adaptative artificial intelligence is deeply involved in the success of this project, and that further AI improvements will profit brain-computer interface projects.

  • This clinical test started in 2019. The comprehensive research of the successful experience of 2023 has been reported in the prestigious scientific publication Nature. Read the full study
  • The New York Times reported on the breakthrough.
  • The detailed press release of UNIL.
  • Below, a short video interview of Gert-Jan by the CEA.

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