Fusing Man And Machine

Over at Tech Talk, Science and Technology Correspondent Daniel Sieberg has some background on his Evening News piece for tonight, a special story of when science meets human perseverance — and when man meets machine.

Here's a taste:

It's not often you meet a researcher looking for a solution to a condition they themselves are dealing with. But when you do their quest has added resonance. Hugh Herr is a double amputee, having lost both his legs below the knee while mountain climbing at age 17. He's also one of the world's leading prosthetics innovators through his work at MIT. Herr was recently awarded the $250,000 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, but more importantly his efforts have resulted in breakthroughs for other amputees like Iraq war veteran, Army Spc. Garth Stewart.

Stewart was the first recipient of Herr's rather bionic lower leg, which uses a combination of subtle mechanics and delicate robotics to better recreate human muscles and bones. Stewart, who previously had a decent but limited prosthetic, is astounded at the difference. He had part of his lower left leg blown off when he stepped on a landmine. Now, he's excited about the future possibilities, which include reduced lower back pain, something many amputee wearers suffer. And Stewart should know about fatigue since this is a guy who still practices jujitsu. (Seriously.)

You can see Daniel's full story tonight on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Or in the meantime, check out his entire post at our sister blog, Tech Talk.