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New spinal implant developed at UCL

will help people with paraplegia to exercise paralysed limbs

Engineers from the UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering have developed a new muscle stimulator implant that will enable people with paraplegia to exercise their paralysed leg muscles.

It is the first time that researchers have developed a device of this kind that is small enough to be implanted into the spinal canal and incorporates the electrodes and muscle stimulator in one unit. The implant is the size of a child"s fingernail.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project is being led by Professor Andreas Demosthenous from UCL. It includes engineers from Freiburg University and the Tyndall Institute in Cork.

"The work has the potential to stimulate more muscle groups than is currently possible with existing technology because a number of these devices can be implanted into the spinal canal", said Professor Andreas Demosthenous. "Stimulation of more muscle groups means users can perform enough movement to carry out controlled exercise such as cycling or rowing."

Full Story on the EPSRC web-site