Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eight million dollar man

Zac Vawter
Associated Press/Photo by Brian Kersey
Zac Vawter
Zac Vawter’s right leg is a mechanistic marvel: Made of aluminum, it has a computer, two motors, and 13 sensors to measure movement or pressure, and weighs less than his left leg. For Vawter, who lost the bottom half of his right leg in 2009 after a motorcycle accident, walking comes as easy as thinking.
Too bad he’s not allowed to take the leg home just yet. The bionic leg is part of a project at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, funded by about $8 million from the Defense Department. Electrodes fitted to Vawter’s right thigh sense muscle movements associated with walking or bending an ankle, and read his intention to bend an ankle, walk, or climb stairs.
The smart leg, according to a September report in the New England Journal of Medicine, cuts falls and unnatural movements nearly in half, compared to regular prosthetics.

-from World Magazine's issue of 11-2-2013.

Here's the "preview" for the NEJM article to which World Mag refers.

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