Above, Rob Summers, paralyzed by a spinal injury, receives electrical stimulation to his spine.
He was injured in a hit and run accident in 2006. Thanks to an array of spinal electrodes developed at UCLA and Caltech, he can now stand for up to four minutes at a time, or even take steps on a treadmill while wearing a harness. The array works by allowing him to activate spinal nerves that can move his legs without a connection to the brain.
This kind of technology doesn’t free him from a wheelchair completely, but it does allow him to mitigate some of the negative effects of wheelchair life on the muscles and nervous system.
And with more development, perhaps it could provide him with even more freedom.