HomeTechnologyNew ARC System Restores Arm Movement for Quadriplegic Patients

New ARC System Restores Arm Movement for Quadriplegic Patients

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The startup Onward Medical has achieved a significant milestone in its development of the ARC nerve stimulation therapy system. The company announced that it has successfully implanted an electrode array that is driven by brainwaves, enabling a patient to restore function and feeling in their hands and arms. This follows a similar implantation in a different patient earlier this year, which helped them regain a more natural walking gait. The ARC system includes the ARC-EX, an external stimulator array that regulates bladder control and blood pressure, and improves limb function and control. Onward aims to commercialize its external spinal cord stimulation solution, ARC-EX Therapy, to restore hand and arm function by the second half of 2024.

In the recent study, the ARC-IM, an implantable version of Onward’s stimulator array, was installed near the spinal cord and controlled through wearable components and a smartwatch. The system uses a BCI to pick up electrical signals in the patient’s brain, convert them into digital signals, and transmit them to a computing device that interprets the signals and commands the stimulator array. The patient simply thinks about their desired movement, and the system translates it into computer-controlled movement. While the efficacy of this translation is still being assessed as the patient adapts to the system, the implant procedures using the ARC-IM and the Clinatec BCI were successful. Onward Medical is part of a growing field of startups working on brain-computer interface (BCI) technology to address various medical conditions, such as loss of limb, self-regulatory function, physical rehabilitation, and communication for individuals with Locked-In Syndrome.

Onward Medical’s achievement represents a significant breakthrough in the field of nerve stimulation therapy. By successfully implanting an electrode array driven by brainwaves, the company has enabled a patient suffering from a spinal injury to regain function and feeling in their hands and arms. This follows a previous successful implantation that restored a more natural walking gait in another patient. The ARC system offers different versions depending on the specific issue being addressed. The ARC-EX is an external stimulator array that helps regulate bladder control, blood pressure, and improve limb function and control. On the other hand, the ARC-IM is an implantable version that is installed near the spinal cord and controlled through wearable components and a smartwatch. The patient’s brain signals are picked up by the system and translated into computer-controlled movement, allowing the patient to carry out their intentions simply by thinking. This exciting development in nerve stimulation therapy has the potential to significantly improve the lives of individuals with spinal injuries and other medical conditions.

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