Yelm man scales great heights on bionic leg

first_imgCHICAGO — The metal on Zac Vawter’s bionic leg gleamed as he climbed the 103 floors of Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.Vawter, who lives in Yelm, southeast of Olympia, lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, put the smart limb on public display for the first time during an annual stair-climbing charity event called “SkyRise Chicago” hosted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment.“Everything went great,” said Vawter at the event’s end. “The prosthetic leg did its part, and I did my part.”The leg is designed to respond to electrical impulses from muscles in his hamstring. When Vawter thought about climbing the stairs, the motors, belts and chains in his leg synchronized the movements of its ankle and knee.The computerized prosthetic limb, like something from a sci-fi film, weighs about 10 pounds and holds two motors.Bionic — or thought-controlled — prosthetic arms have been available for a few years, thanks to pioneering work done at the Rehabilitation Institute. Knowing leg amputees outnumber people who have lost arms and hands, the Chicago researchers are focusing more on lower limbs. If a bionic hand fails, a person drops a glass of water. If a bionic leg fails, a person falls down stairs.“This event was a research project for us,” said Joanne Smith, the Rehabilitation Institute’s CEO.“We were testing the leg under extreme conditions. Very few patients who will use the leg in the future will be using it for this purpose. From that perspective, its performance was beyond measure,” Smith added.last_img read more

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Sea Shepherds Paul Watson names new ship after slain Costa Rican turtle

first_imgThe international conservation group Sea Shepherd in August will add a new vessel to their fleet and it will be named after Jairo Mora Sandoval, the 26-year-old Costa Rican environmentalist who wasfound dead on Moín Beach, on the northern Caribbean coast on May 31.The news was confirmed by Sea Shepherd founder Capt. Paul Watson in a phone interview aired Wednesday by Rainforest Radio.“We thought that the most appropriate thing that we can do right now is name that vessel after Jairo,” he told Rainforest Radio President Jani Schulz.Watson then posted the news on his Facebook profile and added that, “We do not want the name of this courageous and passionate young man to be forgotten, and hopefully this will help to keep his memory alive.”He went on to say that Mora “would not have been murdered if the government of Costa Rica had worked to protect its beaches and species of sea turtles.”He called Costa Rica a “serving boy” to Japan, which wants him extradited. “Costa Rica is in Japan’s pocket,” he added.Watson is offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mora’s assassins. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s environment minister promises action in wake of conservationist’s murder Costa Rica environmental groups still raising questions in Jairo Mora case Jairo Mora honored at 50th anniversary of Costa Rica’s National Park System Costa Rican police sweep nets several suspects in conservationist’s murder probelast_img read more

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