Getting up from a wheelchair is a shared dream of paralyzed people all across the world. A dream that might soon become true thanks to a new skin-like implant that directly stimulates the patients’ spinal cord through electric pulses.
The sci-fi technology developed by researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland has already been shown to restore movement in mice with spinal injuries.
However, the e-Dura implant is not a product from the X-men research facility but from the actual lab of Stéphanie P. Lacour, at the ÉPFL.
Professor Lacour manages the Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronics Interfaces which explores how to shape traditionally rigid electronic circuits into conformable, skin-like formats with the objective of improving biocompatibility, the bottle-neck of electronic prosthesis.
While stiff implants can rapidly damage the spinal cord due to friction, this new gadget is inspired by the characteristics of dura mater, the protecting skin of the nervous central system.
This way, e-Dura, or electronic dura mater,