R&D Magazine announced that Hugh Herr, PhD, is the winner of its 14th Innovator of the Year Award. The award recognizes career accomplishments in scientific research and technology development, spanning disciplines from medical technology to information technology.
Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences, heads the Biomechatronics research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Cambridge, where he is creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. In 2011, TIME magazine coined 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. Herr, who has bilateral transtibial amputations, is responsible for breakthrough advances in bionic limbs that provide greater mobility and new hope to those with physical disabilities.
Herr’s research group has developed gait-adaptive knee prostheses for individuals with transfemoral amputations and variable impedance ankle-foot exoskeletons for patients suffering from foot drop. He has also designed his own bionic legs and the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM; founded iWalk, the company now known as BiOM, Bedford, Massachusetts; and has helped war veterans and some of the victims from the Boston Marathon bombings walk again with the prosthetic devices he developed.