A recent Canisius High School graduate has authored a book Plugged In: How Mind Machines Interfaces Will Transform The World. It's about how the so-called ‘brain-computer’ is helping paralyzed patients and amputees regain movement. WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the Derby native was intrigued by the topic as he recovered from a broken neck.
"When I was recovering from my own spinal cord injury, I was surrounded by a lot of people with worse and better injuries than me,”
We introduced you to Andrew Mangan earlier this year, while he was completing his senior year at Canisius High School. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2016 after he dove out of a hot tub into a snow bank.
Mangan hit his head, initially suffering paralysis. After losing mobility, he underwent extensive rehabilitation, but made a remarkable recovery, regaining movement and walking. He headed for Stanford University this fall and is now studying in Germany.
Mangan was inspired to write the book by watching others recover with the use of technology.
“One of my favorite stories from the book is they had a man who came in and through stimulating his peripheral nervous system - so they stimulated the nerves in his arm - he lost the lower part of his arm – and they stimulated nerves and so when he thought move my hand, the signal still went down to his arm, but when they put this robotic hand on his arm and connected it up, he was able to move the robotic arm when thinking when moving my own arm,” described Mangan.
But what exactly is ‘brain-computer interface'?
“So this could be from anything from controlling a robot from your mind or simply having some sort of device in your brain that is affecting you, like a deep brain stimulator,” Mangan explained.
Mangan said the more information he can share with those suffering with spinal cord injury and other neurological diseases, the better in providing them with more control over their recovery.
“Just recently there was a study done with spinal cord injury patients and they had implants in their spine and they had a battery pack in their abdomen, and by gently stimulating the spinal cord it seriously increased the amount of signals they were able to get through. It enhanced the signals and so these people, after a lot of training with this, have been able to walk successfully,” Mangan noted.
Mangan's booked is already a bestseller in its category.