One-Legged Man Climbs Tower Using a Mind-Controlled Artificial Leg

December 3, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. prosthetic (adj.) [pros-thet-ik] – pertains to an instrument used to replace a body part
Example: The patient who lost an arm in a car accident now uses a prosthetic arm.

2. fundraiser (n.) [fuhnd-rey-zer] – an activity to raise money
Example: The organization held a fundraiser for the cancer patients.

3. rehabilitation (n.) [ree-huh-bi-li-tey-shun, ree-uh-] – treatment or therapy to bring back the body to normal condition
Example:   After the accident, the athlete had to undergo rehabilitation so he could run again. 

4. hardware (n.) [hahrd-wair] – the physical equipment in computers
Example: The hard disk, which stores files in a computer, is an example of hardware.

5. amputee (n.) [am-pyoo-tee] – a person who had one or more limbs removed by surgery
Example: The amputee needs to wear prosthetic legs to be able to walk again.

Read the text below.

Using the world’s first mind-controlled prosthetic leg, Zac Vawter from Seattle, Washington climbed 103 floors of Chicago's Willis Tower as part of a fundraiser.

The “world’s first neural-controlled bionic leg,” as it is called, was made by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). The prosthetic leg receives signals from the brain when its user thinks of going somewhere, making it move.

Artificial fingers and arms that people can control with their minds have been created before, but RIC’s leg is the first mind-controlled leg ever made. Levi Hargrove from the RIC says that the leg contains very advanced hardware.

Vawter was a runner who became an amputee three years ago because of a motorcycle accident. He has been helping researchers test the new artificial leg for about a year, but his stairway climb to the top of the Willis Tower was the first public test for the device. Amazingly, Vawter was able to climb the tower’s 103 floors in 53 minutes and 9 seconds.

He and 3,000 others climbed the tower and raised around $1 million for the rehabilitation center.  

Vawter said that the mind-controlled leg is such a big improvement from his ordinary prosthetic leg. He hopes the technology could improve further and help a lot of people in the future.

Vawter was happy with the results of the climb. He says he is glad that he can continue living with a positive attitude, thanks to the mind-controlled prosthetic leg.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What do you think about devices that can be controlled with just your brain?
·         Do you think such devices have any disadvantage? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         How can amputees stay positive even without prosthetics?
·         In what ways can we show our support to people who have been disabled?


December 3, 2012