Paralyzed monkeys walk again after brain implant

Paralyzed monkeys are now able to walk again after receiving brain implants. The implants send wireless signals to the legs to aid in their mobility. Still years away from being used on people, the technology produced by Medtronic seems to work almost immediately without any major training. The procedure involved two implants: one in the brain and one on the spinal cord.

Key Takeaways:

  • The primate was able to walk immediately once the brain-spine interface was activated.
  • The animals had two implants — one in the brain and one in the lower part of the spinal cord. The team first trained a computer to decode the brain signals that corresponded to leg movements in healthy monkeys.
  • For one thing, they only partly injured the spinal cords because of ethical concerns.

“It’s another step forward in a field that has helped people and monkeys alike to control robotic arms and hands using brain implants. But this is the first time an implant has helped a primate walk.”

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