Patients diagnosed with paraplegia may have difficulty in mobility and require assistive technology. Scientists have now crafted a novel type of microchip muscle stimulator implant that possibly allows people with paraplegia to exercise their paralyzed leg muscles. The device is apparently small enough to be implanted into the spinal canal.
The new implant device is equipped with electrodes and muscle stimulator in one unit itself. This kid’s fingernail sized implant seems to help restore various other functions like stimulating bladder muscles for overcoming incontinence and activating nerves so that bowel capacity is enhanced along with suppression of spasms. Tiny electrodes from platinum foil have apparently been cut by latest available laser processing technology.
Professor Andreas Demosthenous from University College London and lead researcher, explained, “The work has the potential to stimulate more muscle groups than is currently possible with existing technology because a number of these devices can be implanted into the spinal canal. Stimulation of more muscle groups means users can perform enough movement to carry out controlled exercise such as cycling or rowing.”
The electrodes looking like pages of a book folded into a 3D shape, close in around the nerve roots and are named as the Active Book. Hermetically sealed silicon chip is micro-welded to the device for safeguarding against water penetration, which can result in corrosion of the electronics. The Active Book apparently has long-term health benefits for people with paraplegia.