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Friday, 2 November 2012

Man with bionic leg to climb Chicago skyscraper



In this Oct. 25, 2012 photo, Zac Vawter, fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg, is silhouetted on the Ledge at the Willis Tower in Chicago. Vawter is training for the world's tallest stair-climbing event where he'll attempt to climb 103 flights to the top of theWillis Tower using the new prosthesis. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
Image : Associated Press/Brian Kersey

Zac Vawter considers himself a test pilot. After losing his right leg in a motorcycle accident, the 31-year-old software engineer signed up to become a research subject, helping to test a trailblazing prosthetic leg that's controlled by his thoughts.

He will put this groundbreaking bionic leg to the ultimate test Sunday when he attempts to climb 103 flights of stairs to the top of Chicago's Willis Tower, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers.

If all goes well, he'll make history with the bionic leg's public debut. His whirring, robotic leg will respond to electrical impulses from muscles in his hamstring. Vawter will think, "Climb stairs," and the motors, belts and chains in his leg will synchronize the movements of its ankle and knee. 

Vawter hopes to make it to the top in an hour, longer than it would've taken before his amputation, less time than it would take with his normal prosthetic leg — or, as he calls it, his "dumb" leg.

A team of researchers will be cheering him on and noting the smart leg's performance. When Vawter goes home to Yelm, Wash., where he lives with his wife and two children, the experimental leg will stay behind in Chicago. Researchers will continue to refine its steering. Taking it to the market is still years away.

"Somewhere down the road, it will benefit me and I hope it will benefit a lot of other people as well," Vawter said about the research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

02/11/2012  :  By Carla K Johnson   /   Yahoo News



1 comments:

  1. Oh wow! This is quite amazing!! Can you imagine how wonderful this would be for people who need prosthetic limbs!! I think it could be used for more than this, even . . . though only time will tell for that one. Let's hope it works!!

    ReplyDelete

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