steps were once unimaginable for Sebastian Tobler. Five years ago, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a cycling accident. But one year ago, he was given an experimental spinal implant developed by Swiss-based scientists. That, as well as a lot of personal effort, means Sebastian is now regaining control over his paralyzed limbs.
>> I feel that one year after i progress with some movements, and just looking forward, what would bring me in the next day and the next year, ten years after. What will I see in my body, new changing, some new movements perhaps, who knows?>> The implant is a three inch flexible piece of silicon embedded with electrodes, which are connected to nerve endings in the lower spinal cord.
They delivered targeted electrical simulation depending on the intended movement.>> What we do is we amplify somehow, the
] that come in from the brain to trigger the intended movement. So medically, he has full control of the stimulation and its outputs. He can inhibit it or he can enhance the effect of the stimulation.
It is really with the voluntary control of the activity of the paralyzed message.>> The main challenge is coordinating the brain's intention to walk with the targeted electrical stimulation. But after a few months of training and neuroscientists, Greg Wakwateens whose patience has been able to control previously paralyzed leg muscles without that stimulation.
>> The idea here is that you are repairing the injured spinal cord. So you may not know the mechanics of it, but 99 motors, we are clearly seeing that with this type of training, neurofiber cells regrowing, reorganizing. That's why the brain, we can control, over the movements of the paralyzed leg.
>> Three paraplegics have now received the spinal cord implant as a part of this research. All three can now walk with the aid of crutches or a walker. The scientists here have now founded a startup called GTX Medical to develop their next implant and with the ultimate aim of creating a treatment available at hospitals everywhere.