‘Digital bridge’ between brain and spine enables paralyzed man to walk again

More than ten years ago, Gert-Jan Oskam was paralyzed in a cycling accident after suffering a spinal cord injury. Now he can stand and walk again thanks to an innovative brain-spine interface (BSI) developed by a team of Swiss neuroscientists.

In order to walk, the brain must send a command to the area of ​​the spinal cord responsible for movement control. But a spinal cord injury interrupts this communication.

“Our idea was to restore this communication with a ‘digital bridge’, an electrical communication between the brain and the area of ​​the spinal cord that is still intact. said Professor Grégoire Courtine, one of the lead neuroscientists on the project.

To do that, the team created a wireless interface between the brain and spine using brain-computer interface (BCI) technology that turns thoughts into action. As a result, Oksam can now stand, walk and climb stairs naturally just by thinking about it.

brain-spine digital bridge for paralysis