Plenary 1 - Hugh Herr - On the Design of Bionic Limbs: The Science of Tissue-Synthetic Interfaces
Critical to the advancement of bionic technology that emulates or extends normal physiological function is the design of tissue-synthetic interfaces connecting the human body with electromechanics. In this talk, I describe research activities underway to advance mechanical and neural interfaces for the functional enhancement of bionic limb devices. I present novel prosthetic, orthotic and exoskeletal limbs that behave dynamically like their biological counterpart, peripheral neural interfaces that serve as an electrical interface with the external bionic limb, and novel osseointegration technology for the mechanical and neural transmission of the bionic device to the biological limb. Further, I present a digital nervous system designed to artificially control paralyzed musculature for the restoration of motor function for persons with limb pathology. Finally, critical areas of future research are discussed that must be advanced to step towards the next generation of bionic limb systems.