Zac Vawter lost his leg in a motorcycle accident and a team of amazing software engineers have given Zac the chance for normality he thought he would never have again.
The 32-year-old engineer can climb stairs, and even wiggle his toes through a mind-controlled robotic prosthetic that is the first of its kind. Vawter was given the opportunity to be the test pilot for a U.S. Army funded study on bionic limb technology.
The leg comes from the Rehabilitation Center of Chicago’s Center for Bionic Medicine, and is one of the most advanced limbs ever created. Vawter stated:
“In my mind, it’s still the same thing in terms of moving my ankle down or up, or extending my leg forward or back. It’s just walk like I would normally walk. It’s not special training or buttons or tricks. That’s a big piece of what I think is groundbreaking and phenomenal about this work.”
The artificial leg has an incredibly low 1.8 percent rate of error, and is connected to Vawter through two nerves that were re-wired to Vawter’s hamstring and linked to the lim through censors. A simple thought bends the knee or lifts the leg which is entirely freeing compared to other prototypes Vawter had tested in the past.
The Army has invested $8 million in the project, and research from the study will be used to help over 1,200 soldiers who lost limbs while deployed overseas.