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ICRA 2023



Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr


Hugh Herr is creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. Time Magazine coined Dr. Herr the ‘Leader of the
Bionic Age’ because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of Biomechatronics - technology that marries human
physiology with electromechanics. A double amputee himself, he is responsible for breakthrough advances in bionic limbs that
provide greater mobility and new hope to those with physical disabilities. He is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT
Media Lab, and co-director of the K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics.

Herr is the author and co-author of over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts and patents, chronicling the science and technology
behind his many innovations. These innovations include active Leg Exoskeletons, Powered Ankle-Foot Prostheses, and neural
interfacing technologies. A powered ankle-foot prosthesis called EmPower, which emulates the action of a biological leg and, for
the first time, provides amputees with a natural gait, was named to the list of Top Ten Inventions in the health category by TIME
magazine in 2007. Today the EmPower Ankle-Foot Prosthesis has been clinically shown to be the first leg prosthesis in history to
reach human normalization, allowing amputees to walk with normal levels of speed and metabolism as if their legs were biological
once again. In 2015, Herr’s MIT research group invented the Agonist-Antagonist Myoneural Interface, a novel surgical procedure
for limb amputation and neural interfacing that allows persons with limb loss to control their synthetic limbs through thought, as
well as to experience natural proprioceptive sensations. Herr has received many accolades for his groundbreaking innovations,
including the 13th Annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award
in Technology, the 14th Innovator of the Year Award, and the 41st Inventor of the Year Award, the Princess of Asturias Award for
Technical & Scientific Research, and the Liberty Museum Genius Award. Hugh's story has been told in a National Geographic film,
Ascent: The Story of Hugh Herr; and episodes and articles featured in CNN, The Economist, Discover and Nature.