Moving with the power of thought

A group of paralysed patients will soon undergo a revolutionary procedure that could allow them to walk with the power of thought.

The key to returning mobility is a tiny, matchstick-sized device called a stentrode. It will be implanted into a blood vessel next to the motor cortex, the brain’s control centre – bypassing the need for complex brain surgery.

From there it will pick up brain signals and allow patients to move a robotic exoskeleton attached to their limbs simply by thinking about it.

Professor Steven Prawer from the School of Physics was one of 39 researchers from 16 departments across the University of Melbourne’s medicine, science, veterinary science and engineering faculties working on this latest breakthrough, which has just been published in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology.

Read more about this breakthrough on Pursuit, and then read about the future of implantable technologies in medicine, telecommunications and the military.