Scientists at the California Institute of Technolgy have induced sensation in the arm of a paralysed man. Using a tiny array of electrodes implanted in the brain’s somatosensory ave cortex, scientists have induced sensations of touch and movement in the hand and arm of a paralysed man.
The patient had become paralysed from the shoulders down three years ago after a spinal cord injury. Two arrays of tiny electrodes were surgically inserted into his somatosensory cortex. Using the arrays, the researchers stimulated neurons in the region with very small pulses of electricity. The participant reported feeling different natural sensations — such as squeezing, tapping, a sense of upward motion, and several others — that would vary in type, intensity, and location depending on the frequency, amplitude, and location of stimulation from the arrays. It is the first time such natural sensations have been induced by intracortical neural stimulation.