A prodigious teenage climber, one of the best in the world, is overwhelmed by a storm after a technically difficult ascent. He loses both of his legs below the knees to frostbite. There are few events that define any of us so starkly. Hugh Herr, 17 at the time of the amputations, recovers and strives and comes to lead the Biomechatronics group at MIT’s Media Lab where he designs his own legs. He can be shorter or taller. He can climb again. He builds prosthetics that can be controlled by thought alone. Herr’s Biomechatronics aims to eradicate disability and to redefine what it means to be human in the wake of cybornetics. Our director of sciences, Janna Levin, invites Professor Hugh Herr to consider if it is better to be a cyborg than to be an ordinary human.
This project is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.