People with tetraplegia are typically unable to move or feel their hands, despite having the ability to plan those movements and imagine those sensations. Past studies from our collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh have shown that using electrode arrays (picture) to record from the area of the brain that controls movement can enable people with tetraplegia to control a robotic arm by thinking about moving their own arm (video). Similarly, stimulating through electrode arrays in the area of the brain that processes the feeling of touch on the hand can make someone feel as though their own hand is being touched. Bringing these approaches together, we are developing a device that will allow people with tetraplegia to use a robotic prosthetic arm as though it were their own arm.
If you or someone you know has tetraplegia and would be interested in participating in our clinical trial please see the flyer for more information.