Biomechatronics Are Today’s Reality
In the 1970s, there was a TV show called The Six Million Dollar Man. It was about an astronaut fitted with bionic implants that replaced missing limbs and gave him superhuman strength.
Today, engineers are making fiction into fact by creating parts that interact with the human brain and body, solving mobility problems and even improving mobility.
Biomechatronics is the field of engineering that combines biology, mechanics, and electronics. For some stunning examples, watch this 2-minute video about the work of Hugh Herr at The Biomechatronics Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Herr became interested in creating artificial limbs after he lost both of his legs in a mountain climbing accident at the age of 17. He then determined that his life’s work would be to create effective artificial legs for himself and others.
Creating Orthotic and Prosthetic Devices
The Biomechatronics Group at MIT has two purposes: to enhance human capacity so people can accomplish more with their bodies than they normally could, and to put an end to disability.
These two goals could be categorized as traditional orthotics and prosthetics, known as O&P. Orthotics support, correct, and improve human movement, and prosthetics replace any missing body parts to give people normal movement. However, Herr’s work at MIT takes O&P to a whole new level.
Plastics are Part of Biomechatronics
In the MIT video, you’ll notice metal parts and also many plastic injection molded parts. These include pads, sensors, actuators, control panels, and connective pieces. Close tolerancing of all parts used in biomechatronics enhances optimal movement for the wearer and contributes toward ending disability.
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