EATING A HAMBURGER, DRINKING A CUP OF COFFEE, HUGGING A LOVED ONE.
ACTIONS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED EVERYDAY.
THESE MAY BE SMALL FEATS FOR US...BUT THEY SEEM MIRACULOUS TO SOMEONE WHO IS PARALYZED FROM THE NECK DOWN.
RESEARCHERS ARE NOW WORKING ON HELPING QUADRIPLEGICS REALIZE THOSE GOALS BY TAPPING INTO THE POWER OF THEIR MINDS.
("These are all the dogs I've adopted out this year.")
TIM HEMMES RUNS THIS PIT BULL RESCUE. HE DESIGNED THIS WEBSITE HIMSELF.
("Anything you can do on a computer, I'm able to do.")
PRETTY AMAZING-CONSIDERING HE DOES IT ALL USING HIS NOSE- AND A SPECIALIZED COMPUTER.
TIM IS PARALYZED FROM THE NECK DOWN. A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR HIM EIGHT YEARS AGO. HIS INFANT DAUGHTER WAS THE LAST PERSON HE TOUCHED BEFORE HE WENT FOR THAT RIDE. NOW, JAYLEI IS TIM'S DRIVING FORCE.
"I have to hug her one more time. I have to put my arms around her. Feel her, touch her."
THAT'S WHY HE ENROLLED IN AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH-USING THE MIND TO MOVE A MACHINE.
"Someone with a spinal cord injury or amputation can generate the thought to have movement, but because of the spinal cord injury. The thought doesn't go through."
RESEARCHERS PLACED AN ELECTRODE GRID ONTO THE TOP OF TIM'S BRAIN. A WIRE WAS ATTACHED TO THE GRID- GUIDED UNDER THE SKIN OF HIS NECK AND EXITED FROM TIM'S CHEST. THAT WIRE WAS PLUGGED INTO A COMPUTER...DECODING THE BRAIN SIGNALS AND PUTTING THEM INTO ACTION.
TIM WAS ABLE TO CONTROL A MECHANICAL ARM BY USING HIS THOUGHTS AT ONE POINT REACHING OUT TO HIS GIRLFRIEND.
"It may have been plastic and metal, but I was able to put it there. I was able to hold it out to her for the first time. That's something I'll take with me forever."
"Tim wants to be able to hug his daughter. We want him to be able to feel when he hugs his daughter."
THE GRID IS STILL YEARS AWAY FROM COMMERCIAL USE..BUT IT'S GIVING TIM SOMETHING TO FOCUS ON.
THE F-D-A ONLY APPROVED THE GRID FOR THIRTY DAYS OF TESTING. AFTER THE TRIAL, SURGEONS REMOVED IT FROM TIM'S BRAIN.
TIM'S DREAM IS TO HUG HIS DAUGHTER BY HER WEDDING DAY.
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