The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is known for its secretive projects, but we have to agree the agency is also home to some exclusive innovative projects like the one revealed recently at Future of War forum.
A 55-year-old paralyzed American citizen Jan Scheuermann was able to control and fly a single-engine Cessna and an F-35 fighter jet in a flight simulator by using her thoughts – Thanks to DARPA.
Arati Prabhakar, director DARPA explained Scheuermann has been a subject of two years of groundbreaking neuron signaling research at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program.
The first step in training begin with a robotic arm where Scheuermann was able to give a thumbs up, high five and feeding herself a bar of chocolate.
The researchers were surprised to see Scheuermann’s ability to control both of her hands prosthetic arms with just the left motor cortex, which is typically responsible for controlling the right-hand side, according to Washington Post.
“Jan decided that she wanted to try flying a Joint Strike Fighter simulator “So Jan got to fly in the simulator,” said Prabhakar.
A normal pilot would use flight simulator for training and enhance their flying skills, but Scheuermann used her thoughts to fly a plane which is a unique thing.
About Jan Scheuermann:
Scheuermann has been paralyzed since 2003 because of a neurodegenerative condition and since 2012 she has been a part of the sophisticated experiments at DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to see what she can do just by thinking.
Well, it seems she can do a lot, thanks to DARPA and Pittsburgh Medical Center who provided Scheuermann the best medical care available.