“What does it feel like to be paralyzed?” That is the question people put into Google search hundreds of times a day (I have proof; I’ve checked my site stats).
It feels “trapped,” “cut off”…and for high quads like Tim Hemmes who can’t move anything from the neck down, he could teach a class on it (he broke his neck in a motorcycle accident seven years ago and recently founded the Pittsburgh Pitbull Rescue foundation). But he’s also about to be an expert in something much cooler – moving robotic prosthesis (via his thoughts!).
Tim was a media darling last October when the news was finally announced that Duke University neuroengineers had done it – they figured out how to wire brain to robotics and get it to move. The world of Battlestar Glactica may actually happen! Just please, don’t be mean to the Cylons this time around.
Tim (who after a minor surgical procedure to get the electrodes implanted) was able to OMG yes – move a robotic arm (and touch his girlfriend’s hand by his own volition) for the first time since his injury. I really believe him when he says there are no words to describe the joy he felt the first time he moved the robotic arm.
Still young and passionate (he’s only 30), Tim has kept his drive for life – and he’s still very cool-kid stylish. The scene where they show him touching his girlfriend’s hand for the first time (with the neuroengineers being surprised it was so emotional for them) is incredibly cool to watch
Duke researchers say that while this awesome technology isn’t ready to be used in everyday life yet, it could happen in a few years. They’re even getting close to restoring the sense of touch. Can you imagine that? So excited!
Watch the video