“This bioinspired brain-machine interface is a remarkable technological and biomedical achievement,” Professor Grégoire Courtine of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) said in a press release. “Though plenty of challenges lie ahead, these sorts of systems are rapidly approaching the point of clinical fruition.”

Researchers implanted the electrode array into the brain of a 52-year-old, quadriplegic female patient. The array connected to a robotic hand, which mimics movements of a human wrist and fingers. Though the patient underwent 14 weeks of computer-assisted training, she was able to control the prosthetic within the first 2 days.