Jan Scheuermann was diagnosed with spinocerebellar degeneration 13 years ago. Jan, who is 53 years old, is paralyzed from the neck down. She lost control of her body and is unable to move her legs and arms.
Jan was implanted with two sensors: each four millimetres by four millimetres – in the motor cortex of her brain. Tiny needles on each sensor pick up the electrical activity from about 200 individual brain cells.
Professor Andrew Schwartz from the University of Pittsburgh says, “The way that neurons communicate with each other is by how fast they fire pulses, it’s a little bit akin to listening to a Geiger counter click, and it’s that property that we lock onto.”
Jan was able to control the arm after the second day of training and over a period of 14 weeks became increasing skillful.