Paralysed man exercises the power of thought

Quadriplegic Ian Burkhart (left), 24, using neural bypass technology to control his arm in this picture released by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in Columbus, Ohio. The American was left paralysed from the chest down after a diving
Quadriplegic Ian BurkhartPHOTO: REUTERS

Quadriplegic Ian Burkhart , 24, using neural bypass technology to control his arm in this picture released by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in Columbus, Ohio.

The American was left paralysed from the chest down after a diving accident when he was 19, but can now move his hands due to a computer chip in his brain that lets his mind guide his hands and fingers, bypassing his damaged spinal cord - the first time a paralysed person has regained movement just by using his own thoughts.

Mr Burkhart, thanks to an electrode sleeve worn on his right forearm that delivers instructions to his muscles, can now swipe a credit card, pick up a spoon, hold a telephone to his ear and play the chords on a guitar video game.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Paralysed man exercises the power of thought'. Print Edition | Subscribe