Shark attack survivor tests out “bionic” leg

Research at Vanderbilt University has helped fit shark attack survivor Craig Hutto with a “bionic” leg that can do all the things a normal leg can do including navigating various terrains, walking at different speeds, and transitions from sitting to standing.

Hutto’s right leg was amputated below the knee after he suffered injuries due to a shark bite in 2005. Hutto now works as a lab assistant for Vanderbilt mechanical engineering professor Michael Goldfarb who developed the artificial leg. Goldfarb was looking for an amputee to test his creation on when he was introduced to Hutto by the technician who fitted Hutto with his original prosthetic leg.

Goldfarb plans to release the prototype leg to a manufacturer in the near future and expects the cost of the leg to be comparable to a traditional prosthetic. Goldfarb noted that Hutto’s participation in the development of the leg was “invaluable.”

In addition to working in Goldfarb’s lab, Hutto is a nursing student who hopes to work Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt after graduation. This is the same hospital where Hutto was treated after his shark attack. Hutto credits medical personnel with saving his life and hopes to be able to “give back” with his chosen career path.

You can check out the full story at Vanderbilt University’s website.

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