mouse-exoskeletonHumans have exoskeletons to help us carry some really heavy stuff around, as well as perhaps help the paralyzed to walk again. How about animals? Well, this is one animal testing procedure that we hope will succeed to so that similar technology can be ported over to help humans walk again, without harming any lab rats in the process, of course. Scientists have managed to electrically stimulate the severed part of the spinal cord in order to control the limbs of a paralyzed rat in real time, and with the success of this experiment, it is said that human trials are set to begin.

This particular project is aptly named NEUWalk by researchers over at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and they used a rat with a severed spinal cord as part of its experiment.

The premise of this project lies in the idea that the human body will require electricity to function, and the brain commands the body to move through the sending of electrical signals down the spinal cord, and right into the nervous system. Hence, how about sending an electrical signal directly through electrodes which will replace the brain signal? That also works, apparently. This new breakthrough might see the lame walk again in the future.

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