Hugh Herr, head of the Lab’s Biomechatronics research group, spoke at TED 2014 on March 19 about his group’s work in creating bionic prosthetic limbs, and their goal to eliminate human disability through technology. For Herr, his work and involvement is deeply personal, having lost both his lower limbs in a climbing accident 30 years ago.
As he took the stage, Herr dazzled the audience as he walked to and fro wearing the latest bionic prosthetic limbs developed at his lab. Were it not for their mechanical appearance, surely no one could have noticed he had lost both his legs. His talk is deeply inspiring and extremely fascinating, as Herr lays out the work he and his group has performed over the years to reach this level of performance.
To the end of his talk, Herr welcomed to the stage Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer who lost part of her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. Herr and his team at MIT have been working for the past 200 days to build a new prosthetic limb for Adrianne. She took to the stage with a partner and danced a rumba on her new leg—her first onstage performance since the attack.