July 10, 2013

Gizmodo Writer Tries Bionic Leg (Video)

Gizmodo writer Brent Rose wins the Internet for the day. He tried out a bionic leg.

Really. He did. There’s even video.

Cool, right? I didn’t read the entire article, but here are a few nifty bionic tidbits:

– The leg is made by AlterG Therapy.

– It goes over your leg rather than replacing it; it won’t help you become The Six Million Dollar Man.

– There are fewer than 100 AlterG Bionic Legs in the U.S. as of this moment, according to Gizmodo, and at $40,00 per unit, they’re not cheap. Rentals are available for $700-$1,000 per month, though, and frankly, that’s probably cheaper than many healthcare items currently in use. It’s also not six million dollars.

– The leg has a built-in speed limit of “just over two miles per hour.” LiveScience.com estimates Usain Bolt’s speed at 28 mph, going on to speculate that humans could theoretically run as fast as 40 mph. I have no idea if that’s true. My point here is that the leg has a speed limit. Why? Because it’s for physical therapy and helping patients recover from ACL surgery. Not doing stuff like this:

– The leg has a control panel with various settings, and the Robocop-like noises it makes are intentional. “AlterG had the capability of making the motors much quieter, but physical therapists and patients actually preferred the more audible motors,” Brent writes. “It provides realtime feedback to them, so they can tell how much the motors are working and how much the patient’s leg is working.”

– Pants are required, “both for comfort and hygienic reasons.” I hope that Brent Rose enjoyed writing the line “Note: Patients using the AlterG Bionic Leg must wear pants” as much as I enjoyed reading it.

Bottom line, read the article, watch the video, and dream of becoming Steve Austin, with or without a super 70’s mustache.

I Wore a Bionic Leg, And I Never Wanted To Take It Off Again (Gizmodo)

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