A search for ways to help paraplegic and quadriplegic people is one of the most exciting fields of study in AI research. Could we use Artificial Intelligence to eventually eliminate the need for wheelchairs?
Researchers in Zaragosa, Spain seem to think so.
In this new study, the patient can send signals to his brain that would be picked up by synthetic neurons. These signals are sent to an implanted endoskeleton, and a paralyzed patient can move. Because this system implants new neurons into the patient, he can also feel heat, coldness, and pain in his formerly useless limbs.
Elsewhere in Europe, people are developing a wheelchair that moves by brain signals. The computer can discern left, right, and forward commands, and infrared sensors allow it to turn only at the next available location.
Previously, artificial neurointelligence systems (ANIS)—systems that read brain signals to create movement for people—also consisted of endoskeletons, but because they did not employ the false neurons, they were far less successful. Before that, bulky, neuron-less exoskeletons only allowed partial movement.
The next wave of ANIS research would focus on taking full control of its patients’ automatic nervous systems. Until then, scientists hope to use their current system to allow some movement to people who otherwise would have none.
Researchers working on these projects hope that these “new legs” can completely transform the lives of paraplegics soon.