Butler County's great daily newspaper

Connoquenessing Township man lived short but extraordinary life

July 28, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

Advertisement | Advertise Here
In this photo made Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, assistant professor Jennifer Collinger, left, watches as quadriplegic research subject Tim Hemmes operates the mechanical prosthetic arm in a testing sessions at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center research facility in Pittsburgh. Hemmes had a chip implanted on the surface of his brain that reads his intention to move his paralyzed arm and sends that instruction instead to an advanced bionic arm. The goal is to create mind-controlled prosthetics to restore some independence to the paralyzed.

Tim Hemmes was a father, business owner, athlete, medical pioneer, eternal optimist and immediate friend to all who met him.

He just happened to be paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Timothy Hemmes

Hemmes, 39, died July 23 at his home in Connoquenessing Township.

Hemmes' natural determination was a factor in 2011 when he became the first human to move a prosthetic using mind control.

Of the many quadriplegics who were contacted for the project by doctors at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Hemmes was the only candidate to volunteer for surgery to implant electrodes in his brain and have them removed 23 days later at the end of the experiment, said Dr. Michael Boninger, who was the project's lead physician.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that appears in Wednesday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article to learn more about Hemmes and his life.

Share this article: