Researchers at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland have repurposed a spinal implant that has been used to treat chronic pain for decades. They have connected it differently to stimulate movement, controlled by a laptop or smart phone.

Such devices have been tried before, but can often take months of therapy, and are not very capable.

In this case, they were all able to move their legs within hours, and were standing and walking within a day.

“The spinal cord is already complex and the brain is a scale higher in complexity. Being able to isolate specific signals that relate to motor function is difficult,” Sivanesan said. “But everything is in the realm of possibility.”

Not quite as good as spinal cord regeneration, but still a major step forward!

Implanted spinal stimulation device allows patients to stand, walk and swim