Shaer, Matthew. “Is This the Future of Robotic Legs?” Smithsonian Magazine, November 2014, Accessed 19 Oct. 2016.

The author of this article explores not only the invention of a new, technologically advanced prosthetic, but also some of the psychology behind both the design and utilization of the prosthetic. The article follows U.S. Marine Cpl. William Gadsby through his devastating loss of his leg and his journey to recovery, during his rehabilitation he met Hugh Herr. Hugh Herr has been working for his entire adult life on a prosthetic called BiOM. BiOM is completely different from most prosthetics on the market, it closely resembles a human leg and is meant to be as mechanically similar to a biological leg as possible. Hugh Herr began to design BiOM after he lost both of his legs to frostbite during a climbing adventure. He began to create the prosthetic in his garage and he found that it was actually giving him advantages in climbing that he had not had before. As Herr grew older, he found that not much was being done to integrate new technology into the biomedical field. He decided that the next level of prosthesis was utilizing carbon material for power. His new prosthetic was one hundred ten percent more effective in power return than other top of the line prosthetics. Since the development of this prosthesis, most of the trials have been given to veterans like U.S. Marine Cpl. William Gadsby who have suffered traumatic loss overseas. Herr originally found an interest and a passion in the prosthesis field because of his own loss, since then he has been attempting to find a way to not only improve the lives of others but also his own.

The author’s style of writing is enjoyable to read. He offers lots of emotional background to all parties featured in the story. This allows the reader to connect emotionally with Hugh Herr’s cause and his journey to technologically advanced prosthesis. I appreciate that the author includes the technical research behind the prosthetic but he also reports on the emotional responses to the advances in research. Similar to the article about the bionic leg, the technology being discussed in the article is incredibly new. This means that there aren’t many people to feature in the article leaving us with fewer examples of success.

I believe that this article will be crucial to use in my paper. It offers a focus on the emotional and psychological response to advances in technology. This will allow me to add detail about the reasons for advances in prosthesis. People like Hugh Herr are the driving forces behind prosthesis development.

The difference between this article and the article that explains the bionic foot and the article that describes Pistorius’s legs is that this article focuses around a prosthesis that is being designed to be as normal as possible. In this article, Hugh doesn’t want to create a prosthetic that is better than a biological leg, he wants to create a prosthetic that allows a patient to function normally.

Read the article here: Is This the Future of Robotic Legs?


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