The word invalid is defined as: "a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury." In 1982 when Hugh Herr was fitted with crude prosthetic replacements for both of his lower legs, they did little to change his status as an invalid. Back then, prosthetics were little more than wood, rubber, and plastic. They were low tech affairs that were typically stiff and painful.
Prior to losing both of his lower legs to frostbite, Hugh Herr was a world-class rock climber. Refusing to adjust to the world of the invalid, he fabricated his own prosthetic legs and feet that were specialized for rock climbing. He soon found that his specialized prosthetic designs enabled him to do harder rock climbs than he could before losing his legs. At this point, he became the opposite of an invalid -- he was a person made stronger by his injury with the help of technology.
Hugh Herr currently heads the Biomechatronics Research Group at the MIT Media Lab and has a startup company called BiOM which sells prosthetics that enable the wearer to walk naturally without a limp.
The Role of Software Development in Cutting Edge Prosthetics …show more content…
These devices replicate muscle tendon function and help propel the person forward as they walk. The microprocessors in these devices are of course, driven by software which actuate motors in response to sensor information. The software must take mechanical/dynamical variables into account to actuate the motors to produce natural movement whether the wearer of the prosthesis is walking or trotting on level ground, or going uphill, or