The Biomechatronics Unit at the MIT is making progress with its journey towards the end of disability. Prof Hugh Herr heads the program with a remarkable degree of passion as if sensing the need for a solution. If anybody, he should know. The Prof lost both his legs below the knee after he became lost in a blizzard in 1982 at age 18. At the time, he was one of the best climbers in the United States.
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Nowadays, Prof Herr has other mountains to climb. He is building bionic legs that can sense their proximity to, or distance from objects. Our natural feet do this all the time going up and down stairs without us realising. It is hard to believe our parents had to teach us.
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Prof has developed technology to sense like human feet, but has been battling to connect the signals to the human brain.
"The method that is used today to amputate limbs has fundamentally not changed since the US Civil War,” he told The BBC candidly.
Auger is intrigued to learn about amputating to “create the right mechanical and electrical interfacing environment”. Especially, when he speaks of a new epoch of technology / human physiology integration. PhD student Tyler Clites thinks we are entering “an age in which the line between biological systems and synthetic systems is going to be very much blurred.” How remarkable is that?