Daily Video

August 12, 2021

Daily News Lesson: New technology allows for sense of touch to come back for people living with paralysis


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video with closed captions or the transcript, click here

Summary: Experimental research is working to improve the lives of people living with paralysis. Finding a way to bridge the severed connections between their brains and their limbs remains an urgent, but often elusive goal for researchers. Miles O’Brien reports on the progress being made in restoring some people’s sense of touch. 

Five Facts: 

  • What is quadriplegia?
  • How does Cleveland’s pioneering Functional Electrical Stimulation Center’s technology allow disabled people like Austin to start moving again?
  • Where in the brain during surgery do they put the implants?
  • Why do they choose those locations?
  • When did they find success with a previous participant? What did he succeed in doing?

Discussion questions: 

Focus questions: 

  • Think about how ability affects your everyday life and the accessibility of things around you? Would you say your community is accessible to disabled people? How would an invention like this help disabled people in communities that aren’t as accessible, and what other innovations in your community would help people with similar disabilities?

Media literacy: This message follows around Austin and interviews several people? What are the benefits of this approach to conveying the message? Are there any drawbacks? 

Dig Deeper:

  • To learn about the success of Austin’s predecessor, Bill, see this article.
  • If you would like to help invent ways to help people in your own community overcome obstacles related to disability, check our our Invention Lesson series.
  • For more stories about accessibility, or lack thereof, see this PBS NewsHour piece


This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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