Computer Aided Stimulation for Paraplegics, lecture by Jerrold Petrofsky
Computer History Museum
Place of Publication
Boston, MA, US
Dr. Jerrold Petrofsky describes his pioneering work at Wright State University that enabled Nan Davis, a 22-year-old paraplegic student, to walk, aided by a system based on computerized electrical-feedback stimulation. The system allowed Davis in 1982 to take her first steps in four years. Petrofsky discusses his own application of computers in a medical laboratory setting and summarizes spinal cord injuries and their effects. Petrofsky’s research into closed-loop, computer-directed muscle control included attaching electrodes and sensors to patients, which, when attached to his specialized computer, could help paralyzed individuals move previously immobile body parts. In the lecture, Petrofsky mentions that closed-loop systems have allowed paralyzed patients to stand up and take a few steps since at least 1962, but his research was paving the way towards a more mobile and less wired solution on the way towards surgical implantation, that included Z-80 microprocessors. The lecture concludes with questions from the audience.