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Man Climbs 103 Floors Using Thought-Controlled Bionic Leg

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:26am

Fitted with a “thought-controlled bionic leg,” amputee Zac Vawter climbed 103 floors of Chicago’s Willis Tower — accomplishing a task that would intimidate even seasoned athletes.

But the 31-year-old, whose right leg is amputated, had help from a neural-controlled prosthetic leg. The device, which has a powered knee and ankle, can anticipate Vawkter’s actions. For example, when he pushes on the leg to stand up, it “reads his intent,” and pushes back, propelling him up, according to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“One of the biggest difference(s) for me is being able to take stairs step-over-step like everyone else,” Vawter said in a statement. “With my standard prosthesis, I have to take every step with my good foot first and sort of lift or drag the prosthetic leg up.”

“With the bionic leg, it’s simple; I take stairs like I used to, and can even take two at a time.”

Vawter joined nearly 3,000 people to participate in SkyRise Chicago, the world’s tallest indoor stair climb event.

To see the bionic leg in action, check out the video.

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November 06, 2012

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