In an instance that would act as a sign of hope for people who are paralysed or those who suffer from diseases like blindness, deafness, ALS, seizures, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s. A person, Keith Thomas who was paralysed from neck down was able to move his hand and feel sensations after a miraculous ‘AI-infused’ surgery which connected his brain to a computer through microelectrode implants. Keith Thomas had broken his neck and damaged a portion of his spine in an accident while diving in his friend’s pool and is now being considered as the ‘pioneer case’ for future AI-based surgeries.
Chad Bouton, the leading bioengineer at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in New York where the clinical trial was held and the leader of this trial said that he believes Thomas is the first human in the world to receive a double neural bypass, a technology that links his brain, spinal cord, and body in hopes of restoring both his ability to move and his sense of touch even outside the laboratory.
Despite his situation, Thomas was optimistic and determined along with his love for life made him a suitable candidate for the surgery, said Dr Ashesh Mehta, director of the Institute’s Laboratory of Human Brain Mapping, told The Post. “There was something special about Keith. We knew that he had the strength, the right attitude, the perseverance to do what’s required.” “The surgery had to go perfectly. There was no room for error. There’s only one way to get it right and a million ways to screw it up,” Mehta added.
Now whenever Thomas wants to make a movement, he imagines the movement and the arrays transmit the electrical signals in his brain to an amplifier on his skull, which via an HDMI cable passes the signals on to a gaming computer sitting a few feet away. The computer decodes those messages and sends a signal to electrodes placed on Thomas’ skin, which stimulate the muscles he needs to perform the motion he’s envisioning. While this happens almost in real-time, it takes significant effort from Thomas to imagine the motion and to attempt movement.