Image of PowerFoot One Prosthetic Foot PowerFoot One Prosthetic Foot
PowerFoot One Prosthetic Foot, Hugh Herr, 2007

MIT Professor Hugh Herr lost both legs in 1982 when he was just 17 due to severe frostbite after getting caught in a blizzard while attempting a wintertime climb on Mount Washington. Within months of his surgeries, Herr started climbing again. He designed and built his own prosthetic legs and feet so he could climb on rocks or snow. As he experimented, Herr had a tremendous flash of inspiration: prosthetics could do more than mere replacement—he could make himself as tall or short as he liked. With good design, the injured individual could be better than before. This insight has proven just as revolutionary an idea, as have many of his other prosthetic designs. Time magazine has twice named Herr’s prostheses to its top-10 inventions in the health field. His robotic ankle-foot was honored in 2007. The PowerFoot One displayed in the exhibition was manufactured by iWalk, a startup that Herr helped found, and is the first to allow an amputee to walk with a normal gait.

PowerFoot One Prosthetic Foot
Hugh Herr
Loan from the Biomechatronics Group, MIT Media Laboratory

photo: Michael Cardinali for MIT Museum

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  • Its really a great achievement.It will make life of many people much comfortable by allowing them walk naturally even after losing their feet.

    Patel Nirav
    27 Jan 11 at 12:26 am
  • It is really amazing!!! I am going to MIT to see and make Robots~!

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MIT Media Lab, ESATT. ESATT said: RT @medialab: PowerFoot One Prosthetic Foot @ MIT Museum: [...]

  • Onde encontrar no Brasil, médicos capacitados para implantar essas proteses …

    Terezinha Almeida
    12 Jun 11 at 2:03 pm
  • I first heard of this watching Chronicle. My husband and I were amazed. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who lost his left leg above the knee from a command denotaed mine in 1968 he was 19, along with numerous other injuries. When he was young he was able to walk with a wooden leg, ride bikes, he also climbed a Quarry in Rockport 1970. Dr.’s wanted to kill his nerves in his stump for pain relief but never allowed it. My husband Jim always said that someday someone would build a prosthetic just like you have done. It was amazing to see that soldier be able to walk and play with his family. Our oldest daughter lost her leg due to a broken leg that never healed right. She had many surgerys during the 10 years, then finally she lost her limb. She is a single Mom with a 16 year old very smart daughter. As a Mom I am asking if you are ever looking for a female to help with the ongoing research I would be very gratful if you could help my daughter. Lisa would be a great canditdate for this Powerfoot. She is our first child and is 41 years old. Thank you! Amazing foot.

    Joan Shea
    8 Mar 12 at 9:23 am
  • My son is 11 years old and a pateint at SHriners Hospital. He lost his right foot and his ankle when he was 7 due to a bone deficiency. HE loves to play sports and is very athletic. What holds him back is his gait is off. He drags his right leg behind and almost trots instead of runs. I am interested to know if this is something that would help him run and compete better.

    Michael Hanechak
    5 Nov 13 at 9:28 pm