When Zac Vawter lost his right leg in a motorbike accident, he thought he'd never walk properly again. Now, he's managed to use a bionic limb, hardwired into his nervous system, to climb 103 flights of stairs in the annual SkyRise Chicago skyscraper climbing contest.
Long before our ancient fish ancestors had even vaguely considered that the dry land might be a place to colonize, they had the genetic switches ready to make limbs and digits — switches which still function on mammals today.
Having trouble learning the violin? Finges not moving as they should? All thumbs? Just be patient. In the future there will exist devices that take control of your limbs and use electricity to make them move on their own.
While the Boy Scouts might have their ballyhooed robotics badge, it is actually the Girl Scouts who struck first in this pee-wee tech war with a working prosthetic hand that has helped a 3-year-old Iowa girl write with her fingerless hand.
Next time you pick a fight with an elderly gentleman, check to see whether he's upgraded his lower-leg to one of Ossur's Power Knees. Yes, the world's first motor-driven knee has now gone on sale.
Let's get something straight—amputation is an awful, tragic thing. That being said, these personally customized prosthetic limbs are wonderful in that they make people mobile again—and look like German sports cars. Great industrial design for a great cause.
In 2005, Ellie May Challis lost all of her limbs to meningitis. In 2009, she's become the youngest person ever fitted with carbon fiber legs.