Mind Controlled Bionic Leg Scales Willis Tower Skyscraper
Zac Vawter the man who scaled the Willis Tower Chicago’s tallest skyscraper standing at 1,729 feet, the tallest in the United States until the completion of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, NYC is the epitome example of one unleashing their human potential. The mission statement of Ariix, Zac Vawter who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident harnessed the smart limb during an annual stair-climbing charity event called “SkyRise Chicago” the event was hosted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
The robotic leg designed to respond to electrical impulses from the muscles in Vawter’s leg. The mechanical device a technological marvel in that the it includes two motors, belts and chains that assist with the movements of it’s ankle and knee.
We may have been used to seeing something like this in future sci-fi movies as it brings us back to blockbuster’s such as “The Terminator”. The technology is fascinating in that it blends man and machine and exploits the presumed limits of both. This is more than an exhibition of human perseverance and ingenuity, Zac Vawter is unofficially endorsed as the hero in the lives of many.
“We were testing the leg under extreme conditions. Very few patients who will use the leg in the future will be using it for this purpose. From that perspective, its performance was beyond measure,” Said Joanne Smith, the Rehabilitation Institute’s CEO.
Bionic — or thought-controlled — prosthetic arms have been available for a few years, thanks to pioneering work done at the Rehabilitation Institute. Knowing leg amputees outnumbering people who’ve lost arms and hands, the Chicago researchers are focusing more on lower limbs. If a bionic hand fails, a person drops a glass of water. If a bionic leg fails, a person falls down stairs.
Researchers spent months on the technical validations of the leg to ensure that it would respond to Vawter’s impulses or “thoughts”. In preparation for this event Vawter practed on a small escalator at the gym.
Now here is the magic question. How many of us I included can say they successfully scaled 103 floors?
The journey to the observation deck in the Willis Tower is approximately 2,100 steps. I personally recall my journey up the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston Ma. Yes! I am an elevator guy. From the very bottom of the Bunker Hill Monument to the very top totaled a very amateurish 294 steps. After scaling both ways, my legs were jello, ready to fall off, ready to quit on me even before I reached the ground.
Zac Vawter may have pulled the curtain on the intimacy of man and robot and the direction of technology and the place it will soon have on the lives of many who have lost a limb. More importantly he illustrates everything that Ariix stands for. Pushing the envelope, unleashing the human potential, challenging ourselves in every aspect of our lives. The sky is the limit, and we thank Zac Vawter and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for providing a clear and undeniable illustration of what we as a corporation and community of business owners stand for.