Co-director of the K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics
Herr seeks to develop neural and mechanical interfaces for human-machine communications; integrate these interfaces into novel bionic platforms; perform clinical trials to accelerate the deployment of bionic products by the private sector; and leverage novel and durable, but affordable, materials and manufacturing processes to ensure equitable access of the latest bionic technology to all impacted individuals, especially to those in developing countries.
Hugh Herr believes that technologists can do better. An associate professor of media arts and sciences and leader of the Biomechatronics Group in MIT’s Media Lab, Herr is building sophisticated devices that aid human movement by mimicking nature.
It’s unusual to find a researcher whose work and personal history are so entwined, and not just because Herr, himself a double amputee, now walks on bionic legs that his lab designed. As both a rock climber and a user of prostheses, Herr has direct experience with frustratingly poor prosthetic design – and an athlete’s determination to overcome them. His lab is working to understand the tricks the human body uses for moving efficiently, and then translating that knowledge into robotic devices that can not only restore function to those who have lost it but enhance normal human capabilities.