New device gives hope to paralyzed people

Using signals picked up by a sensor implanted in his brain that were then translated into electronic impulses, the 25-year-old man was able to control a computer cursor that allowed him to manipulate mechanical devices, HealthDay News reports.

He is unable to move or breathe on his own after his spinal cord was severed in a knife attack five years ago. But thanks to a dramatic scientific advance, Matthew Nagle, 25, can now pick up objects, open e-mails, change the channel on the television and play computer games.

He was able to use his thoughts to move a cursor around a computer screen, open e-mails, change channels on a television and operate a robotic arm to pick up an object and move it, as well as playing simple computer games such as neural pong, a computer version of ping pong. During all these activities he was able to talk just as an able-bodied person would.

A second patient, aged 55, who had been paralysed since 1999, also had the implant, and successfully used his thoughts to operate devices, though with less effect than Mr Nagle. After 11 months, signals from his brain were abruptly lost for reasons researchers are still investigating, according to Independent.