ASA Monitor December 2023, Vol. 87, 18.
Implant for thought-driven movement after spinal cord injury
ONWARD Medical has conducted its first-in-human implant of the ARC-IM Stimulator, designed to restore upper-extremity movement and function in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). This new technology involves the use of a wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) to enable thought-driven movement when paired with the device. The stimulator delivers targeted therapy to the spinal cord and has been previously applied to restore mobility and stabilize blood pressure in clinical feasibility studies. The procedures were conducted in Switzerland, with the implantation of the ARC-IM device followed by ONWARD’s BCI WIMAGINE implant nine days later. The BCI captures a paralyzed individual’s intention to move their upper extremities and uses AI to decode those thoughts. The ARC-IM Stimulator then translates this information into precise spinal cord stimulation, resulting in thought-driven movement. The clinical study aims to assess the safety and effectiveness of thought-initiated spinal cord stimulation after SCI. This builds on a previous announcement by the company, where the pairing of ARC Therapy with a BCI implant enabled an individual to gain augmented control over their paralyzed legs.