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Cyborgs, Patients

Kevin Warwick - RFID transmitter, electrode microarray into the forearm, robot arm, central nervous systems

Warwick's wife - central nervous systems, Neural implant

Patient, now 38 (French) - walk

Female complete T9 paraplegic - leg cycling exercise

Merger, 39, paralyzed from the waist down - stand up and walk

Partially paralysed man - walk

Blind patients - sight

Jennifer French - stand up and walk

Jesse Sullivan - robotic limb, Bionic Arm

Claudia Mitchell - bionic arm

Robert Naeslund (Swedish) - ear, brain

Australian Anonymous - eye, ear, voice, body


A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i.e., an organism that has both artificial and natural systems). The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space



electrode array is a configuration of electrodes used for measuring either an electric current or voltage. Some electrode arrays can operate in a bidirectional fashion, in that they can also be used to provide a stimulating pattern of electric current or voltage.



Radiotelegraphy or wireless telegraphy transmits messages using radio. Telegraphy includes recent forms of data transmission such as fax, email, and computer networks in general. Invented by Samuel Morse by the help of Alfred Veil.



Common electrode arrays include: Schlumberger (Wenner);

Wenner alpha; Wenner beta; Wenner gamma; Pole-pole; Dipole-dipole

Pole-dipole; Equatorial dipole-dipole


Kevin Warrick

University of Reading, Kevin Warwick  K.Warwick@reading.ac.uk


Project Cyborg

The first stage of this research, which began on 1998-08-24, involved a simple RFID transmitter being implanted beneath Warwick's skin, and used to control doors, lights, heaters, and other computer-controlled devices based on his proximity. The main purpose of this experiment was said to be to test the limits of what the body would accept, and how easy it would be to receive a meaningful signal from the chip.[16]

The second stage involved a more complex chip which was implanted on 2002-03-14, and which interfaced directly into Warwick's nervous system. The electrode array inserted contained around 100 electrodes, of which 25 could be accessed at any one time, whereas the median nerve which it monitored carries many times that number of signals. The experiment proved successful, and the signal produced was detailed enough that a robot arm developed by Warwick's colleague, Dr Peter Kyberd, was able to mimic the actions of Warwick's own arm[17]

By means of the implant, Warwick's nervous system was connected onto the internet in Columbia University, New York. From there he was able to control the robot arm in Reading University and to obtain feedback from sensors in the finger tips. He also successfully connected ultrasonic sensors on a baseball cap and experienced a form of extra sensory input.[18]



Warwick, K, Gasson, M, Hutt, B, Goodhew, I, Kyberd, P, Schulzrinne, H and Wu, X: “Thought Communication and Control: A First Step using Radiotelegraphy”, IEE Proceedings on Communications, 151(3), pp.185-189, 2004

A signalling procedure is described involving a connection, via the Internet, between the nervous system of an able-bodied individual and a robotic prosthesis, and between the nervous systems of two able-bodied human subjects. Neural implant technology is used to directly interface each nervous system with a computer. Neural motor unit and sensory receptor recordings are processed real-time and used as the communication basis. This is seen as a first step towards thought communication, in which the neural implants would be positioned in the central nervous systems of two individuals.



Practical Interface Experiments with Implant Technology Kevin Warwick
and Mark Gasson Department of Cybernetics, University 2004


In this paper results are shown to indicate the efficacy of a direct connection between the human nervous system and a computer network. Experimental results obtained thus far from a study lasting for over 3 months are presented, with particular emphasis placed on the direct interaction between the human nervous system and a piece of wearable technology. An overview of the present state of neural implants is given, as well as a range of application areas considered thus far. A view is also taken as to what may be possible with implant technology as a general purpose human-computer interface for the future.



Nerve implant experiment "a gimmick"

The new implant consists of an electronic microarray with 100 tiny "spikes", each as thin as a human hair. Wires linked to the implant have been tunnelled 15 centimetres up Warwick's arm, where they poke through the skin. These wires are linked to a radio transmitter/receiver, which can communicate with a computer.

The median nerve contains sensory neurons and motor neurons. Some electrodes will pick up signals from and transmit signals to each type of neuron, and some from both, Warwick says.

The type of array implanted in Warwick's arm is being used in animals for basic neuroscience research, to investigate the concurrent activity of up to 100 neurons.



Nerve implant experiment "a gimmick"

15:18 22 March 2002, NewScientist.com, news service, Emma Young

Surgeons have implanted an electrode microarray into the forearm of UK cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick. The centimetre-long device should allow two-way communication between a computer and neurons in the median nerve in Warwick's arm.

"It is hoped that the project will result in considerable medical benefits for a large number of people, in particular assisting in movement for the spinally injured," says a statement from Warwick's team at the University of Reading.

But experts in medical bioengineering dismiss the project as "a gimmick". "It's good for the entertainment industry but it's not going to contribute anything to neuroscience," says Nick Donaldson at University College London.

Warwick is a controversial figure in cybernetics. He believes humans will become cyborgs - part-person, part-machine. And he has attracted criticism in the past for what some experts say are overly speculative pronouncements and media-friendly experiments.

In 1998, Warwick had a simple transmitter temporarily implanted in his arm. The transmitter was wirelessly linked to a computer, so when he walked around his department, doors opened and lights switched on.

Stimulating movement

The new implant consists of an electronic microarray with 100 tiny "spikes", each as thin as a human hair. Wires linked to the implant have been tunnelled 15 centimetres up Warwick's arm, where they poke through the skin. These wires are linked to a radio transmitter/receiver, which can communicate with a computer.

The median nerve contains sensory neurons and motor neurons. Some electrodes will pick up signals from and transmit signals to each type of neuron, and some from both, Warwick says.

In a series of tests over the next few weeks, Warwick will move individual fingers, for example, and the activity of motor neurons will be recorded. Sensory stimuli, such as a light touch or heat, will also be applied to various points on his hand.

"We're then going to put signals into the nerves to see if we can get movement," Warwick told New Scientist. "We might be able to get my fingers to move - that'd be fantastic"

Walking wounded

The type of array implanted in Warwick's arm is being used in animals for basic neuroscience research, to investigate the concurrent activity of up to 100 neurons. But Donaldson is unconvinced that Warwick's experiment will produce valuable results: "I doubt that in a few weeks they'll do any useful neuroscience."

Warwick says he hopes such neural prostheses could be used to restore sensory and motor functions lost by spinal injury, other neurological lesions or limb amputation.

Electric stimulation has already been used to help patients with damaged spinal cords walk. "But the walking they do is very, very poor by normal standards," says Donaldson. "And my view is that no foreseeable technology is going to get paraplegics walking any better than has already been done."

The approach will probably be practically useful only for treating limited damage, involving monitoring and stimulating one or two neurons, he says.





Warwick’s wife - central nervous systems

A highly publicised extension to the Project Cyborg experiment, in which a simpler array was implanted into Warwick's wife—with the aim of creating a form of telepathy or empathy using the Internet to communicate the signal from afar—was also successful, resulting in the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans[19]



Patient, now 38, had been unable to walk - implant in patient's abdomen and joint

Chip may get paraplegic walking

PARIS -- French doctors have successfully implanted an electronic device into a paraplegic in a ground-breaking operation which may allow the patient to walk unaided for the first time in 29 years.

"We have tested it and it works," said Dr Pierre Rabischong, a Montpellier surgeon.

But the patient's implant remains to be tested.

The device comprises a centimetre-square processor chip.

It was implanted in the patient's abdomen and joint by electrodes to nerves and muscles used in flexing and extending the legs.

The patient, now 38, had been unable to walk unaided since age nine, after an accident.

Implanting electronic chips in people paralysed by spinal damage is not new, but Dr Rabischong said the Sept 28 operation in France was the first time a single chip had been used to control signals to both muscles and nerves.

"In the future, we would like to eliminate all these wires and use intelligent electrodes." -- AFP



Female complete T9 paraplegic - leg cycling exercise

Control of leg-powered paraplegic cycling using stimulation of the lumbo-sacral anterior spinal nerve roots
Perkins, T.A.; Donaldson, Nde.N.; Hatcher, N.A.C.; Swain, I.D.; Wood, D.E.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Volume 10, Issue 3, Sep 2002 Page(s): 158 - 164
Digital Object Identifier   10.1109/TNSRE.2002.802860
Summary: We investigated leg-powered cycling in a recumbent tricycle for a paraplegic using functional electrical stimulation (FES) with the lumbo-sacral anterior root stimulator implant (LARSI). A female complete T9 paraplegic had a stimulator for the anterior L2 to S2 spinal roots (bilaterally) implanted in 1994. She was provided with equipment for daily FES cycling exercise at home. The cycling controller applies a pattern of stimulation in each of 16 crank angle phases. A 7-bit shaft encoder measures the crank angle with adequate precision. Each pattern was originally chosen to give the greatest propulsive force in that position when there was no motion. However, dynamically, some reduction in co-contraction is needed; also the patterns are applied with a preset advance time. Maximal power is obtained with an advance of 250 ms, which compensates for muscle response delay and accommodates changes in cadence (from about 25 to 85 rpm). With this system, she has cycled 1.2 km at a time on gently undulating road. We found that spinal root stimulation gives sufficient control over the muscles in the legs to produce a fluid cycling gait. We propose that root stimulation for leg cycling exercise may be a practicable and valuable function for paraplegics following spinal cord injury.



Merger, 39, paralyzed from the waist down - stand up and walk

Clinical applications of electrical stimulation for individuals with spinal cord injury.

From: Clinical Kinesiology: Journal of the American KinesiotherapyAssociation  |  Date: 12/22/2005  |  Author: Faghri, Pouran D.; Trumbower, Randy D.



Merger walks by pressing buttons on a walking frame which acts as a remote control for the chip, sending impulses through fine wires to stimulate his leg muscles, newspapers said.



Merger, 39, was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident just after Christmas 1990. He became the first test patient for the ``stand up and walk'' project, a collaboration between seven European companies and academic institutions.



Anatomically based lower limb nerve model for electrical stimulation


A partially paralysed man - walk

Spinal cord stimulation helps man walk again

A partially paralysed man has learnt to walk again with the help of electrodes permanently implanted into his spinal cord.

US researchers found that administering electric stimulation directly to the patient's spinal cord, which was not entirely severed, enabled him to walk much further following exercise rehabilitation.

He had only a partial spine lesion, meaning that the spinal cord is not completely severed. He retained some sensation and was able to very weakly contract his muscles.



Blind patients - sight

A Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) converts brain signals into outputs that communicate a user's intent. Such a new communication channel does not rely on pheripheral nerves or muscles but on brain activity only.

The 'Pocket BCI' supports bridging the gap between laboratory experiment and practical applications. The portable g.MOBIlab can be easily installed in a subject's home or on a wheel chair. Standard BCI application like spelling devices can be integrated via an Application Programming.






The Mind Reader

Cyberkinetics' brain-computer interface, BrainGate, is a breakthrough device for people with spinal cord injuries. Plugged directly into the brain, the device allows paralyzed people to control a computer, flip switches and move a robotic hand -- by simply thinking.

The Second Sight

Blind patients were granted sight earlier this year in exchange for participating in a clinical trial testing a wireless retinal implant.

Researchers at Intelligent Medical Implants and IIP-Technologies in Europe created the Learning Retinal Implant System with hopes of returning sight to patients with damaged retinas.

The system includes glasses featuring a wireless transmitter and a mini-camera to pick up images. The glasses connect by cable to a processor pack worn at the waist that analyzes the information like a retina would, then send the image information to a chip implanted in the retina. The chip electrically stimulates the retina so ganglion cells can pick up the images. From there, the process continues like it would in a healthy eye: the information goes to the optic nerve, then to the brain and visual cortex where the information is reassembled as a picture.

Tiedtke hopes the device will be commercially available in Europe in 2008, and in the United States soon afterwards.





A report appearing in the July 13 issue of Nature includes the first published findings from an ongoing clinical trial of the Brain Gate Neural Interface System, a brain-computer interface device in the early stages of clinical testing at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and other institutions across the country.


Manufactured by Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc., of Foxborough, Mass., the BrainGate System consists of an internal sensor to detect brain cell activity and external processors that convert brain impulses into computerized signals.


Jennifer French - stand up and walk

Electronic Nerve Stimulator Enables Walking

Jennifer French. She's not a scientist. She's a young woman sitting in a wheelchair, paralyzed from a snowboarding accident. She presses a button on a control box strapped to her waist ... and then she stands up.

The system developed by Hunter Peckham and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University bypasses the injured part of the nervous system and applies an electrical stimulation to replicate the signal that the muscles no longer receive. But the artificial system takes some getting used to.

Jennifer French's Web site is at http://www.theSTIM.org.



Neural Engineering's Image Problem

Jennifer French, who was paralyzed from the waist down in 1998 as a result of a snowboarding accident, has a new mission. Standing up? Walking? No. Been there. Done that. With the help of electronics implanted in her legs and lower torso, she can already stand up out of her wheelchair and even move around using her walker



Hunter Peckham, director of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, which developed French's standing prosthesis,


Electronic Nerve Stimulator Enables Walking

she wanted to walk down the aisle at her wedding, not roll down in a wheelchair. And two years after she got her implant system, despite the spinal cord injury that put her in a wheelchair, that's exactly what she did.



the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center - the research group that created the pushbutton box she wears around her midriff. By pressing the right buttons, she can command a sequence of muscle nerve firings that help her stand up and move.


Brown University neuroscientist John Donoghue is working with the Cleveland FES Center to modify the muscle-stimulating system so that it's activated by electrodes the size of baby aspirin pills, implanted directly into the brain.



Jesse Sullivan - robotic limb Bionic Arm

Jesse Sullivan became one of the first people to operate a fully robotic limb through a nerve-muscle graft, enabling him a complex range of motions beyond that of previous prosthetics. By 2004, a fully functioning artificial heart was developed.

A brain-computer interface, or BCI, provides a direct path of communication from the brain to an external device, effectively creating a cyborg. Research of Invasive BCIs, which utilize electrodes implanted directly into the grey matter of the brain, has focused on restoring damaged eye sight in the blind and providing functionality to paralysed people, most notably those with severe cases, such as Locked-In syndrome.



Claudia Mitchell - bionic arm

The Bionic Arm

In 2001, Jesse Sullivan, a high-power lineman, was nearly electrocuted and so badly injured that doctors had to amputate both of his arms. In 2002, he became the poster boy for the bionic arm when he appeared on national television wielding a computerized, biohybrid arm created by scientists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. On Thursday, Sullivan and the first woman to test the bionic arm, Claudia Mitchell, demonstrated their new abilities with the arm. Sullivan told reporters he can now trim hedges and mow the lawn. Mitchell, who lost her arm in a motorcycle accident, said the arm allows her to carry a laundry basket and fold clothes.

The researchers implant sensors within the pectoral muscles, attaching them to nerves that controlled elbows, wrists and hands before the amputations. The arm takes advantage of the fact that the brain can imagine moving an arm that isn't there -- a sometimes-unwelcome phenomenon for amputees known as "phantom arm" that can even involve pain in the missing limb.

Since the brain is still sending signals to the arm, the device can hijack messages telling muscles to move, or to feel touch or temperature. The researchers attach sensors from the device to the nerves, which attach and become intertwined with the nerves over time as the patient thinks about moving the arm.

When the prosthesis is strapped on, electrodes line up with the sensors to control the computer and motors in the bionic arm to operate the hand -- and all the user has to do is think.



a technique known as functional electrical stimulation (FES), is also applied to the fast-growing group of age-related infirmities. The methods include the use of spinal cord stimulators, which treat chronic pain or stop urinary incontinence; devices to diminish the tremors of Parkinson's disease by feeding electrical impulses to structures deep within the brain; and stimulators that send signals to the left vagus nerve in the neck, on its way to the brain, in order to quell epileptic seizures

an unencouraging start, when the device was seen as a threat to deaf culture, it has gone on to restore at least some hearing to an estimated 70 000 people worldwide


the Freehand implanted hand-grasp stimulator for quadriplegics, which until 2002 was marketed by NeuroControl Corp., Valley View, Ohio. Originally developed at the nearby Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, Freehand consists of an eight-channel stimulator implanted like a pacemaker in the chest wall. Each channel is connected to electrodes that are surgically attached to the nerves of the hand and wrist. The user controls the device by twitching the opposite shoulder, which activates a mechanical switch. The switch signals the stimulator to send electrical impulses to contract the muscles that make the hand grasp an object.

The cost of the device and the implantation surgery, about $50 000, was another deterrent, although insurers were beginning to cover the cost at the time NeuroControl pulled the plug.


a phrenic nerve stimulation system, which controls his diaphragm and dramatically reduces his dependence on a mechanical ventilator. Working through a laparascope, surgeons placed electrodes in Reeve's diaphragm muscles.

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and is now marketed by Synapse Biomedical Ltd. of Oberlin, Ohio


IIP-Technologies in Bonn, Germany, for example, is developing a retinal implant with a wireless link to an external imaging system. There are also several research teams working on a visual prosthesis that bypasses the eye altogether. It feeds signals from an external camera directly to the neurons in the back of the brain that would ordinarily get signals from the retina.


Market leader Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., has done a brisk business with its Activa deep-brain-stimulation system for treating Parkinson's and other tremors since the device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year.



Robert Naeslund (Swedish) - ear, brain

Four transmitters implanted in head see the following X-Rays.

Robert Naeslund

www.think-aboutit.com/Brain Transmitters.htm



The following is a list of researchers in the field of cybernetics


Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in Springfield, N.J., which funds research related to spinal cord injury, Implant researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark, Tohoku University in Japan, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.




Igor Aleksander · William Ross Ashby · Anthony Stafford Beer · Claude Bernard · Ludwig von Bertalanffy · Valentin Braitenberg · Gordon S. Brown · Heinz von Foerster · Charles François · Jay Wright Forrester · Buckminster Fuller · Ernst von Glasersfeld · Francis Heylighen · Erich von Holst · Stuart Kauffman · Sergei P. Kurdyumov · Niklas Luhmann · Warren McCulloch · Humberto Maturana · Talcott Parsons · Gordon Pask · Walter Pitts · Alfred Radcliffe-Brown · Robert Trappl · Valentin Turchin · Jakob von Uexküll  · Francisco Varela · Frederic Vester · Stuart Umpleby · John N. Warfield · Kevin WarwickKevin Warwick  · Norbert Wiener



social and cultural anthropologist

I am currently carrying out a research in the Department of Cybernetics of the University of Reading, where Kevin Warwick was , in 2002, the first human with a chip implanted in his body and directly linked to his nervous system. I have spent the last two years there (since June 2004).