Media Courtesy of James Duncan Davidson
Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost part of her leg during last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Haslet-Davis was a dance teacher, making the circumstances even more devastating. However, she made a promise to herself that she would perform again, so she spent the next year working with Hugh Herr.
Herr heads MIT’s Biomechatronics research group and outfitted
Haslet-Davis with a revolutionary prosthetic that would allow her to dance again. Herr personally identified with Haslet-Davis, he himself being a double amputee who had dreams of becoming the world’s top mountain climber.
To specifically create the limb for Haslet-Davis, Herr and his team studied a dancer with similar build. They tracked the dancer’s movement across a floor made of sensors. They then used that data, a control algorithm, sensors and a motor inside of the prosthetic to make it function like a spinal cord.
Haslet-Davis got her dream. On Wednesday night in Vancouver, she performed for the first time since the bombing. Needless to say, tears were shed. In an interview with Mashable
, Herr said, “it was perfect.” Adding, “I was very emotional. It was beautiful.”
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