13 years ago, Jan Scheuermann, 53, from Pittsburgh, was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder that left her paralyzed from the neck down.
But now, Scheuermann can use a robotic arm to feed herself and move everyday items, controlling the bionic limb with her mind!
Speaking at a press conference put on to demonstrate just how well the robotic limb works, Scheuermann said; “It’s so cool…I’m moving things. I have not moved things for about 10 years … It’s not a matter of thinking which direction anymore it’s just a matter of thinking ‘I want to do that’.”
At the media event, Scheuermann fed herself chocolate and cheese strings. She also carried out a number of tests designed for recovering stroke victims that consisted of moving items around and she completed them at speeds comparable to an able bodied person.
The research team from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have been working with Scheuermann and the incredible bionic limb. Experts have said that it is evidence of remarkable progress in the field of mind-controlled prosthetics.
The development of brain-machine interfaces is progressing rapidly and scientists believe that in the near future, the technology could even be used to bypass nerve damage and re-awaken a person’s own paralyzed muscles.
At the moment though, systems like that which was demonstrated by Scheuermann could be paired with robotic exoskeletons in order to allow paraplegics and quadriplegics to walk.