Science-fiction concept lets paralyzed hand move

June 26, 2014 10:00 AM

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First they screwed the end of the gray cord into the metal silo rising out of Ian Burkhart’s skull. Later they laid his right forearm across two foam cylinders, and they wrapped it with thin strips that looked like film from an old home-movie camera. They ran him through some practice drills, and then it was time for him to try.

If he succeeded at this next task, it would be science fiction come true: His thoughts would bypass his broken spinal cord. With the help of an algorithm and some electrodes, he would move his once-dead limb again — a scientific first.

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