"The challenge is, not being able to walk or feed myself being dependent on others," she says. The mother of two struggles everyday, but over the past year, she's been given hope.
She heard the story of Tim Hemmes injured in a motorcycle accident who learned to move a robotic arm with his mind. Now she's part of a brain and computer study being done by the same researchers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.
With electrodes placed on the brain, the technology allows Jan to use the mind-controlled, robot arm to perform everyday motions. She says, "I have a hard time, but very quickly became very natural and very smooth and almost automatic."
In the beginning on the study, Jan's goal was to feed herself a piece of chocolate, a goal she was excited to reach. Researchers say eventually this technology could help a wide range of people, including stroke patients.
Jan learned to flex the wrist back and forth, move it from side to side and rotate it clockwise and counter-clockwise, as well as grip objects, something scientists call 7D control.
Ultimately, researchers want to develop a device that can be used in the day to day lives of people who can't use their limbs on their own.