Hugh Herr
Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr co-directs the Center for Extreme Bionics at the MIT Media Lab, where he is pioneering a new class of biohybrid smart prostheses and orthoses to improve the quality of life for thousands of people with physical challenges.

When Dr. Herr was a junior in high school, his lower legs were frostbitten severely from a mountaineering accident and had to be amputated inches below the knees. This experience spurred his interest in inventing orthotic and prosthetic appliances. He designed special legs for himself so that he could continue to climb mountains and has devoted his life to assisting the elderly and the disabled through his research

A powered ankle-foot prosthesis called the Empower by Ottobock, emulates the action of a biological leg to create a natural gait, allowing persons with amputation to walk with normal levels of speed and metabolism as if their legs were biological.

He is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Dephy Inc., which creates products that augment physiological function through electromechanical enhancement.

Keynote Speaker Programs

  • Ascent: the story of Hugh Herr
  • Technology & the human spirit: merging body & machine
  • The limits of human performance