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LIT News Exercise - Mind Reading Machine Helps Man Walk Again

The story…

Mind-reading machine helps man walk again

Learn language related to…


Need-to-know language

robotic – relating to or connected to a robot

exoskeleton – (here) mechanical outer layer that supports and strengthens the body

implants – tissue or devices inserted in the body (usually by surgery)

beamed – transmitted through the air – e.g. electrical or radio signals

kit – equipment needed for a particular purpose

Answer this…

How did Thibault practice using the brain implants?


It's a small step for Thibault, but could this be a giant leap in paralysis?

Thibault's arms and legs were paralyzed after a fall damaged his spinal cord four years ago.

But when he's strapped into this robotic suit, he can use his thoughts to move again.

He told me learning to walk came quite quickly, but using the exoskeleton to precisely bend and stretch his arms or rotate his wrists took much longer.

So how does the exoskeleton work? Well, first Thibault has implants resting on the surface of his brain. They are reading his thoughts, his brain activity, his brainwaves, and they are being beamed to a computer. Now, the computer has to rapidly digest that information and transform that brain activity into instructions, which are sent to the exoskeleton. From thought to movement, it takes less than a third of a second.

Thibault first used his brain implants to control a computer game before trying the exoskeleton.

Now the French researchers plan to test the technology on three more patients.

This experimental exoskeleton is not going to become widely available soon. If you look, Thibault is attached to the ceiling to stop him falling over. It means the exoskeleton can't be used outside the laboratory. And this kit is also too expensive for most of the world to benefit. But this is still a breakthrough and shows the potential of technology to transform lives.

Did you get it?

How did Thibault practice using the brain implants?

Thibault used his brain implants to control a computer game before trying the exoskeleton.

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