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Brain-controlled robotic suit enables the paralysed to walk

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Thibault, a 28-year-old tetraplegic man from the French city of Lyon, has been able to walk using a exoskeleton, an innovative robotic suit, which is controlled by brain signals.

Footage filmed at Grenoble’s biomedical research centre Clinatec on Monday, shows the exoskeleton, two recording devices implanted on the side of a brain and a ceiling-mounted harness that the exoskeleton equipped with for balance.

Each of the two recording devices implanted on Thibault’s head contains some 64 electrodes. The recording devices collect brain signals and transmit them to a decoding algorithm, which then translate them into movements before sending commands to the exoskeleton.

Over the course of a two-year trial, Thibault trained the algorithm on virtual simulations by controlling a computer-simulated avatar to perform basic movements, reach for objects and walk.

Commenting on his experience, Thibault said that “at the very beginning, as I do not feel my legs, there was this feeling of flying.” He expressed happiness about “participating in something great, making my contribution.”

Thibault has been paralysed from the shoulders down for four years after falling 40 feet (12 metres) from a balcony.

According to scientists, the exoskeleton is an experimental prototype for now. Three more patients have reportedly been recruited to participate in the trial.

Video ID: 20191008-006

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