Implant location of the micro electrode array shown on the rubrospinal tract (RST)at the C5 level of the rat spinal cord.
(October 17, 2011) A new wireless device to help victims of spinal cord injury is receiving attention in the research community. Mesut Sahin, PhD, associate professor in the department of biomedical engineering at NJIT, recently has published and presented news of his findings to develop micro-electrical stimulators for individuals with spinal cord injuries.
The work, now in its third year of support from a four-year, $1.4 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, has resulted in the development and testing of a technology known by its acronym, FLAMES (floating light activated micro-electrical stimulators). The technology, really a tiny semiconductor device, will eventually enable people with spinal cord injuries to restore some of the motor functions that are lost due to injury. Energized by an infrared light beam through an optical fiber located just outside the spinal cord these micro-stimulators will activate the nerves in the spinal cord below the point of injury and thus allow the use of the muscles that were once paralyzed.