Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagGrégoire Courtine

xray spine
x-ray image of spine

Man With Severed Spinal Cord Walks Again, Thanks to AI Implant

Most of us would have said that Michael Rocatti, whose spinal cord was severed in a motorcycle accident in 2017, would never walk again. But he did.

Rocatti had lost all feeling and motion in his legs after the motorbike crash. But thanks to electrodes implanted in their spines in experimental surgery in Lausanne, Switzerland, he and two other young men (29–41) were able to “to stand, walk, ride a bike and even kick their legs in a swimming pool” again. (Guardian) He is slow and unsteady but he is walking. The implant provides a bridge between the brain and the nerves that are severed from it: When prompted, the device sends activity-specific pulses of electricity to various nerves that were cut off from the central nervous system, allowing the Rocatti and other paralyzed people to send the appropriate stimulation and instructions to their legs. Rocatti and Read More ›