A man, who was paralysed after being involved in a diving accident, has been able to move his fingers again after a chip that reads brain signals was implanted into his body.

Ian Burkhart from Ohio suffered a spinal cord injury six years ago, leaving him unable to walk, and paralysed from the elbows down.

In a world first, Mr Burkhart had a sensor inserted into his brain and an advanced computer system was programmed to understand the signals coming from the organ. During the experiment, Mr Burkhart wore a specially designed sleeve to contract and stimulate the muscles in his right arm. He was able to swipe a credit card and could grasp and move large objects. He now hopes to gain full movement in both of his hands.

Charity, Spinal Research has called the findings ‘encouraging’, although they are still in their infancy.

Samantha Hemsley, national head of the serious injury and clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “While this research is in the very early stages, it still marks a really positive step in potentially helping those who have suffered a spinal cord injury to regain movement.

“We monitor scientific breakthroughs closely so if something becomes available that could help our clients with their rehabilitation we can ensure that it is included as part of any compensation claim.

“There are a number of pioneering discoveries that have come out in the last year or so and we hope to see more of these becoming a reality so that victims of serious injury can enjoy a better quality of life and really start to regain their independence.”