University of Washington researchers look at ways to use implanted devices to allow movement in paralyzed patients.If researchers at the University of Washington have their way, people who have been paralyzed by injury or stroke may be able to move their limbs again in the future.

The National Science Foundation has enough faith in the idea that a device can be implanted in the brain to interpret brain signals to spur movement, that they granted $16 million to the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the university.

So far, researchers have created a bidirectional device that can analyze brain signals, decode the data and send the information to other parts of the nervous system. The artificial pathway made possible by the implantable device would bypass damaged parts of the brain or nervous system, rerouting the signals through healthy parts of the brain and body.

Clinical trials are still about eight to 10 years away, but this bold research is another fine example of the out-of-the-box thinking and innovation that are hallmarks of Washington’s life sciences sector, which benefits greatly from being in close proximity to a major research institution as well as the state’s high-tech industry.

Learn more about this research in The Seattle Times.