Paraplegic Woman Feeds Herself Chocolate With Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

Written by Kate Winter on . Posted in Gadgets, Science, Technology


Jan Sheuermann began losing control of her arms and legs in 1996 due to a crippling disease called spinocerebellar degeneration. She now has achieved the goal that she set out for herself nearly two decades ago, to feed herself chocolate once again!

A brain-computer interface (BCI) was able to read and interpret Jan’s thoughts that were transmitted via electrical implants attached to her brain. 96 individual electrodes were affixed to her brain by biomedical engineers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical center. These electrodes were able to read electric pulses and translate her thoughts into actions. The feat took 14 weeks of training, but Jan accomplished her longtime goal.

Sheuermann said of the event, “This is the ride of my life, this is the roller coaster. This is skydiving. It’s just fabulous, and I’m enjoying every second of it.”

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