18 Feb 2016

Bionic sheep a stepping stone from paralysis

8:31 pm on 18 February 2016

A sheep with a robotic spine could help paralysed soldiers get back on their feet.

sheep generic

Photo: 123RF

Melbourne researchers who designed a revolutionary bionic spine and trialled it in sheep said they wanted to conduct clinical trials in paralysed humans late next year.

The 3cm device can be implanted into the brain to enable patients with spinal cord injuries to control a robotic limb merely by thinking.

It records the electrical activity from neurons in the brain and translates that into commands which are carried to a transmitter implanted just under the skin.

The transmitter can then command an exoskeleton or wheelchair wirelessly, telling it to take a step or turn left or right.

The United States Army partly funded the research in the hope that it will help tetraplegic former soldiers regain their mobility.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs