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103 floors of skyscraper with thought-controlled bionic leg

Following last week’s news, Zac Vawter successfully became the first man to climb a skyscraper with a mind-controlled prosthetic leg when he walked up on Sunday to the top of Chicago’s landmark Willis Tower. The man who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident climbed 103 floors in under an hour with no breaks, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a bionic limb.

Mr Vawter has signed up to become a research subject at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment. To prepare for the climb, Zac and the scientists spent hours adjusting the leg’s movements. Eleven electrodes placed on the skin of Vawter’s thigh fed data to the multi-million dollar bionic leg’s microcomputer.

According to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, their Center for Bionic Medicine has worked to develop technology that allow amputees like Vawter to better control prosthetics with their own thoughts.

‘Standing up the top of the tower I really wasn’t expecting such an incredible view at the finish line. It was a fitting way to end the climb.’, said Zac about the unique experience.

Nearly 3,000 climbers participated in the annual event, climbing about 2,100 steps to the Willis Tower’s SkyDeck level, to raise money for the institute’s rehabilitation care and research.

To watch a report about the event and see Zac’s prosthetic limb in action, check the video below:

Vawter climbs to top of 103-story Willis Tower using the worlds first neural-controlled Bionic leg in Chicago
Zac Vawter climbs to the top of the 103-story Willis Tower using a multi-million dollar bionic leg, as Physical therapist aide Suzanne Finucane (L) looks on in Chicago November 4, 2012. Credits: REUTERS

103 floors

Skyrise Chicago 2012