Paralyzed Man Moves His Hand through Mind Control

September 20, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. regain /riˈgeɪn/ (v.) – to return to or get something back
Example: She regained consciousness 10 minutes after she passed out.

2. bypass / ˈbaɪˌpæs, -ˌpɑs/ (v.) – to avoid something by going around it
Example: The surgeon needs to bypass vital organs in order to reach the internal wound.

3. decode /diˈkoʊd/ (v.) – to make sense of a coded message by translating it into a more understandable form of language 
Example: The scientists made a system that can decode the emotions of victims who cannot speak.

4. electrode /ɪˈlɛk troʊd/ (n.) – a conductor through which electricity can be transferred
Example: They had to use electrodes to let electricity flow into the device.

5. cherish /ˈtʃɛr ɪʃ/ (v.) – to appreciate and value something because of its personal significance
Example: After her near-death experience, she began to cherish her life even more.


Read the text below.
Doctors and scientists have developed a technology that enables a paralyzed patient to regain control of his limbs through the use of his mind alone.

In June, paralysis victim Ian Burkhart successfully moved his hand using Neurobridge [NOO r-oh-brij]. This technology, which uses the patient’s mind to trigger muscle movements, was first tested on Burkhart.

Medical and engineering specialists from Ohio State University’s medical center and the non-profit technological manufacturer, Battelle [buh-TEL], partnered in designing the system.

According to Battelle scientist, Chad Bouton [BOHT-n], Neurobridge mainly operates by transmitting electrical signals from the brain to the body. The device would bypass injured areas and directly transfer the signals to the intended muscles.

A microchip, which is implanted into the patient’s skull, sends the mental signals to a computer. The signals will then be decoded by the system in less than a tenth of a second. Afterwards, a sleeve of electrodes attached to the patient’s injured limb will receive the stimulation command and will trigger the working muscles within the injury.

After having the microchip surgically inserted into his brain, Burkhart was able to successfully move his hand just by thinking about it. During the experiment, he used his hand in various tasks such as picking up a spoon. Cherishing the experience, Burkhart, who injured his spinal cord four years ago, shared that self-dependence is something he values as a paralysis victim.

Doctors and scientists believe that Neurobridge is the first of many inventions that would pave the way to a better and more independent life for victims and disabled patients like Burkhart.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Neurobridge is a good invention? Why or why not?
·         What device would you invent to help paralyzed patients move? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         Do you think paralysis victims should be encouraged to live on their own? Why or why not?
·         How would you encourage disabled patients to regain their self-dependence?

September 20, 2014