Thread: Hugh Herr and iWalk

Hugh Herr and iWalk

  1. #1

    Hugh Herr and iWalk

    This month's Discover had a piece on the MIT prof. Hugh Herr and his innovative approach to designing functional prosthetic limbs. Hugh Herr himself is an amputee and was sporting prototype "powerfoot" limbs on the front page of the article.

    Their design is built around the actual bio-mechanics of how ankles, the tendons in the leg, as well as how leg muscles all power forward movement as well as absorb shock during the walking process - automatically correcting for a shift in balance, changes in pressure on the "sole" of the foot across a range of material types. It's pretty cutting-edge stuff.

    Towards the end of the article, Herr is quoted as saying, "One day I will truly no longer be disabled and maybe augmented in some ways."

    Can you dig?

    Qu'est-ce que

  2. #2
    Originally Posted by TrickyVein
    This month's Discover had a piece on the MIT prof. Hugh Herr and his innovative approach to designing functional prosthetic limbs. Hugh Herr himself is an amputee and was sporting prototype "powerfoot" limbs on the front page of the article.

    Their design is built around the actual bio-mechanics of how ankles, the tendons in the leg, as well as how leg muscles all power forward movement as well as absorb shock during the walking process - automatically correcting for a shift in balance, changes in pressure on the "sole" of the foot across a range of material types. It's pretty cutting-edge stuff.

    Towards the end of the article, Herr is quoted as saying, "One day I will truly no longer be disabled and maybe augmented in some ways."

    Can you dig?

    If I saw that running after me in the streets, I'd crap my pants.

    But seriously: That's completely awesome!
    It fills me with hope for humankind when I see people doing stuff like that.
    "Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." G'Kar, Babylon 5.

  3. #3
    From the article:

    "But in his lab, Herr often goes shoeless, his pant legs hiked up to expose aluminum legs an inch in diameter atop sleek masses of silver gears and wires, which power flat black feet resembling the bottoms of flip-flops. 'I think they are more attractive than human legs," he says."
    Qu'est-ce que

  4. #4
    Powerfeet, eh. Reminds me of the Angry Marines. I'd post the imagine, but I think it violates the ToU on this forum. Mechanical feet are getting all the attention. People need to start working on better hands. Outfitting people with hooks is unacceptable in the 21st century.
    Rule 30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.

  5. #5
    Oh, I dig.

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by Irate Iguana
    Mechanical feet are getting all the attention.
    I've seen far more articles and information about robot arms than robot legs over the last five years. I figure it's because robot arms are in a lot of ways easier to design and produce. They don't have to support 140+ pounds of person all the time.
    Speed up the accelerating returns, 'cause carbon doesn’t work, I want to evolve and operate at terahertz.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Shralla
    I've seen far more articles and information about robot arms than robot legs over the last five years. I figure it's because robot arms are in a lot of ways easier to design and produce. They don't have to support 140+ pounds of person all the time.
    I've seen a few articles mention some system being tested for use in hands. Nothing really solid on making something that will actually be available to people. Supporting people is easy compared to grabbing a cup of coffee and striking a match.
    Rule 30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.

  8. #8
    It's not just supporting the weight but also perfectly balancing it on one leg at a time.

    And what do you mean by limbs not available to people? These legs aren't available to people either. Nothing on this level of technology is available for commercial purchase yet, because it's not done.

    I mean look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppILwXwsMng

    Hands and arms are just as far along as feet, possibly farther, especially considering the complex nature of grasping and manipulating motions.
    Speed up the accelerating returns, 'cause carbon doesn’t work, I want to evolve and operate at terahertz.

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by Mr. Herr
    One day I will truly no longer be disabled and maybe augmented in some ways.

    [...]

    I think they are more attractive than human legs
    I can see the seeds for HR style conflict being sown here. A cold sense of superiority, fueled by the trauma of severe bodily mutilation... Hatred of meat bags is the next step!

  10. #10
    ^^ That's what I was thinking - if this Herr guy continues to improve upon his design, then what's to stop him from optimizing body-function - improving on rather than trying to simulate what an arm and hand can do? I wonder if there are some prosthetics available now that are banned from competition because of the benefits they confer on the athlete who uses them?
    Qu'est-ce que

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by TrickyVein
    I wonder if there are some prosthetics available now that are banned from competition because of the benefits they confer on the athlete who uses them?
    Regular ass carbon fiber stilt-type prosthetics are banned from running events because of that.
    Speed up the accelerating returns, 'cause carbon doesn’t work, I want to evolve and operate at terahertz.