In 1982 Hugh Herr lost his legs due to frostbite and learned that “people are never broken”. He designed legs for himself which allowed him to return to climbing and even created special features which allowed him to perform better. Now a Professor at MIT, Hugh Herr is devoted to designing and building bionic limbs which have a real interface with the person’s nervous, skeletal and muscle structures essentially creating the movement, strength and agility of the lost limb. Dr. Herr sees his research in bionics going further with more sophisticated interfaces and even exoskeltons to enhance human performance.
In a recent TED talk, Dr. Herr talks about the science of bionics and then introduces Adrian Haslet-Davis, the ballroom dancer who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing last year. Ms. Haslet-Davis dances in her first appearance since her injury. I found this talk inspirational in terms of how science can transform a disability into an ability. Kudos to Hugh Herr.