Scientists are now building a device that records brain signals and transmits them to paralyzed muscles, potentially returning muscle control to severely paralyzed patients. In the prosthetic system, which is still in early development, a brain chip records neural signals from the part of the brain that controls movement. The chip then processes those signals, sending precise messages to wires implanted in different muscles of the patient's arm or hand, triggering the paralyzed limb to grab a glass or scratch the nose. "Our ultimate goal is for a person to think and effortlessly move the arm," says Robert Kirsch, associate director of the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, at Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Cleveland, OH.
The fragile-looking polycarbon braces moved her arms and legs, but a more subtle system handled her thin hands - galvanic inlays. I thought of frog legs twitching in a high-school lab tape, then hated myself for it.
-from Gibson's "The Winter Market"