Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University has designed something that could, in the not too far distant future, transform the lives of large numbers of people who suffer from a range of mobility disorders, including paralysis

Nicolelis is in the process of designing an artificial exoskeleton that will sit outside the body to help it move in a natural and fluid manner.

The suit has been designed to pass on messages from the wearer’s brain, follwing the basic commands the brain sends to it, such as moving limbs, feet or other body parts.

The project is currenty undergoing extensive testing and the results are, so far, encouraging.

According to the BBC, “A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton.” The man was Juliano Pinto, and he was wearing one of the very suits that Duke University designed.

How It Works

The body suit, which may encompass pretty much the entire body (depending on what is needed), is strapped on to the person who is going to be using it, and it is able to read brain waves and translate neurological commands into instructions that the machine is able to understand.

It can do this via EEG detectors, which then transfer the mechanical understanding of what is going on in the brain to the joints in the skeleton.

The Implications

The robotic exoskeleton has the potential to be a game changer, in a truly positive way, for many who are currently unable to move.