A paralysed man has been able to walk simply by thinking about it thanks to electronic brain implants, a medical first he says has changed his life.
The electronic implants wirelessly transmit his thoughts to his legs and feet via a second implant on his spine. The system is still at an experimental stage but a leading UK spinal charity called it “very encouraging”.
“I feel like a toddler, learning to walk again,” Mr Oskam told the BBC. He can also now stand and climb stairs.
“It has been a long journey, but now I can stand up and have a beer with my friend. It’s a pleasure that many people don’t realise.”
The development, published in the journal Nature, was led by Swiss researchers. Prof Jocelyne Bloch, of Lausanne University, who is the neurosurgeon who carried out the delicate surgery to insert the implants, stressed that the system was still at a basic research stage and was many years away from being available to paralysed patients.