Eric Luethardt and Dan Moran interacted regularly, exchanging ideas in their two different areas, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering, respectively. After many interactions, they came up with the idea for the IpsiHand, a device designed to help patients who have suffered a stroke to regain some of their abilities. The two men cofounded Neurolutions to develop and test their idea. The IpsiHand was the first brain-computer interface, allowing the brain to directly work with the device, instead of working to stimulate those parts of the brain.
The device was finally approved by the FDA in April 2021. The device allows for a lateral connection that was severed by a stroke injury. The breakthrough for the device was actually a complete surprise and had not originally been their goal for the project as it had been widely accepted that the solution was based on the solutions that were already being tried. Once they realized that more was possible, they focused on new discoveries in that direction. As they learned more about helping to connect the sides of the brain, they worked with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop an exoskeleton that helps move the hand as the brain attempts to send signals to it. The result is a device that allows for far more fine tuned motions than simply gripping. It is able to move single fingers to restore a much wider range of activities.
They have already seen some successes with stroke patients who had moved beyond the six months when developing motor activity is usually possible following the event. They are hoping to continue building on the current system to restore even more abilities in the future.
If you want to learn about the inspiration between the two scientists and how their daily interactions helped inspire this new technology, you can read the full article at A Helping Hand.
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