Bringing back humanity with bionics

“We’re beginning the age in which machines attached to our bodies will make us stronger and faster and more efficient.”

Hugh Herr is at the forefront of future prosthetics. At MIT, Herr directs the Biomechatronics research group, where he is creating an entirely new group of smart prostheses and exoskeletons. These smart protheses, or personal biotics as his company BiOM, Inc. calls it, will improve the lives of thousands of people with physical challenges.

Both of Herr’s legs were amputated due to frostbite tissue damage after a mountain climbing accident in 1982.

At that time, I didn’t view my body as broken. I reasoned that a human being can never be broken. Technology is broken. Technology is inadequate.”

Since then, Herr has worked to bring technology to the level where it could replace his legs. And as you can see in the video above, he certainly has done that.

Not only has Herr and his colleagues brought the ability to walk back to people who have lost it, he has also brought back their humanity. There are countless prosthetics that can give amputees a way to walk, but what they lack is a connection to the brain. This is where BiOM’s prosthetics differ. Combining several technologies such as 3D-printed parts, computer-assisted joints, and many others, BiOM has brought back natural human movement.

It certainly amazing how far prosthetics have come in the past few years and the progress is definitely thanks to Herr, BiOM, MIT, and countless others working in the field. At the end of his talk, Herr showed just how amazing these prosthetics can be…

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