|Fake leg illustration|
(Scroll down for video) A man with a fake leg climbed a Chicago, Illinois, skyscraper, according to reports.
Zac Vawter considers himself a test pilot. After losing his right leg in a motorcycle accident, the 31-year-old software engineer signed up to become a research subject, helping to test a pioneering prosthetic leg that is controlled by a person’s thoughts.
He put this innovative bionic leg to the ultimate test on Sunday, when he climbed 103 flights of stairs to the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers.
He made history with the public debut of the bionic leg. His buzz robotic leg responded to the electrical impulses of the hamstring.
When Vawter thinks about climbing stair, motors, belts and chains on his leg synchronize the movements of the ankle and knee. Vawter reached the top in an hour, longer than he could before his amputation, but less time than with his usual prosthetic leg, or as he calls it, his dumb leg.
A team of researchers stood by, and encouraged him and watched every movement of his new smart leg. When Vawter goes home to Yelm, Washington, where he lives with his wife and two children, the experimental leg will stay in Chicago.
Researchers will continue to refine its direction. Taking it to the market is still years away. "Somewhere along the way, it will benefit me and I hope it will benefit a lot of other people too," Vawter said about the research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.