Friday, October 07, 2005

Making Lemonade

Climber and MIT professor Hugh Herr is featured in the November issue of Popular Mechanics as one of the winners of the mag’s inaugural “Breakthrough Leadership Awards.” Herr, who lost both lower legs to frostbite during a storm on Mt. Washington in 1982, is a pioneer in advanced prosthetics. Using special “crack feet” and other modifications, he returned to climbing after his accident and repeated some of the country’s hardest climbs, including the 5.13 crack City Park at Index in Washington. As director of the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab, Herr is developing microprocessor-driven prosthetics that actively mimic the complex motions and reactions of human limbs; he imagines a time when powered artificial exoskeletons will enhance the performance of even fully able bodies.

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