Thanks to Utah tech, Quadriplegic man regains ability to move and control hands

Photo: Policy Impact

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - A 24-year-old quadriplegic man now has the ability to move and control his hands thanks to researchers at the University of Utah.

Told he would never be able to use his hands again after a driving accident, Ian Burkhart can now control his hands using his own thoughts using something called the Utah Array, according the release from Blackrock Microsystems.

The Utah Array, produced by Blackrock Microsystems and invented by Dr. Richard Norman, is a small substrate of electrodes that is placed in the brain. Software allows researchers to analyze the motion Ian imagines and then translates brain signals into hand movement, read the release.

"It was a big shock," Burkhart describes being able to move his hands again. "Now it's something so fluid, it's kind of like it was before I had my injury, where I just think about what I want to do, and now I can do it."

Chad Bouton, of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, lead the research.

"This is the first time a completely paralyzed person has regained movement just by using their own thoughts," Bouton told Nature, a scientific journal.

Bouton hopes the research on the Utah Array can also help people who have had stokes or traumatic brain injuries.

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