字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント I had just finished my freshman year of college. I was out in the ocean and I dove out and into a wave, something I had done many times before. I dove into a sandbar that had drifted in, which fractured my spine and damaged my spinal cord, and that left me as a C5 quadriplegic. I kept asking the doctors, what can I look forward to in the future? One of my doctors said, hey, we want to try this muscle stimulation device. It really sounds like it's something out of a science fiction novel: reconnecting my mind to my body. Spinal trauma is one of the toughest problems in medicine. There's currently no biological way of healing severe damage to the spinal cord. Recently, scientists have started developing a workaround: creating an artificial link between the brain and the body. GAURAV SHARMA: My name is Gaurav Sharma, I'm the lead investigator on the NeuroLife program at Battelle. So NeuroLife is an electronic neural bypass technology that can link the brain directly to the limb it controls. We are developing this technology for people with paralysis due to spinal cord injury, so they can regain control of their own hand. Ian Burkhart is our first patient in this study. Being injured at the C5 level means that I have pretty good strength through my biceps, but I don't really have any movement below my elbows at all. I rely on other people to help me every single day. They help me get dressed, get transferred into my wheelchair, um, brush my hair; and then at the end of the day I also need help doing everything in reverse to get ready for bed. Independence is my number one goal, and regaining any use of my hands will really improve my independence, so it was something I was all for. You good? Yeah I'm set. So this technology has 3 main components. The first component is a tiny chip that is surgically implanted in Ian's brain, and that records Ian's brain activity as he's thinking about moving his hand. You want a little bit more slack? No that's fine. It's good? OK cool. GAURAV: The second component is a computer algorithm that decodes Ian's brain activity and interprets the movement he is thinking about. And the last component is a wearable sleeve which has up to 160 electrodes, which activates the individual muscles to evoke the attempted movement. You said hand open first? Hand open first, yeah. When I first started with the study, just trying to open and close my hand was extremely challenging. I never had to think about moving my hand, as it was just something that naturally happened. So it was something that took a lot of mental strength. OK, you ready? Yeah. But today, with practice, I'm able to pick up an object and manipulate that around in space; I'm able to move individual fingers; I can do some complex grasps. These are looking good today. Yeah! You know, we've done everything from picking up a bottle and pouring it, to playing Guitar Hero. Just being able to control more of your body that I had thought I had lost forever is something that's really exciting and really promising. All right, so I think we're going to need to move some of these things out of the way. As Ian gets better at using his hand, the researchers give him new challenges. This is his first time trying this homemade Battleship game, and the results are a mixed bag. - Barely had it... - That looked better, I think. Yeah, I barely had a hold of it and it just slipped in. That's what happens when you try a new thing though. I think you were getting bored with everything working easily. Nice to mix things up a little bit. It's probably going to be a while before a system like NeuroLife restores anything like full functionality. But it's a first step towards a future where a broken connection between mind and body doesn't have to be permanent. For now, Battelle plans to keep refining the system with Ian and other patients, in the hope of turning NeuroLife into a commercial product within a few years. The ultimate goal of this project is someone can actually take it home with them, and use it for their activities of daily living. We are working very hard on the hardware side to make it portable and wearable, so that Ian can in the morning wake up, put the sleeve on, and he should be good to go. If I can help move science so that, in the future, someone with an injury like mine, they'll be back going on with their lives in a short time, that's something that, y'know, I'll work as hard as I can for.