Heather Rendulic yearns to use both hands to fill up her plate at a hotel buffet, or slice up her own steak. She wants to pull her hair into a ponytail. She’s tried to teach her husband, but it always comes out a bit messy.
Almost nine years after a stroke paralyzed the left side of her body at age 23, Rendulic sat in a lab at the University of Pittsburgh and used her left hand to cut a steak. Aided by a spinal cord stimulation implant developed by Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon researchers, she fed herself nuggets from Chick-fil-A, and used her left hand to draw a picture she described as “not half bad.”