Man Climbs Skyscraper With Bionic Leg

Amputee Zac Vawter makes history in Chicago

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 4, 2012 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – A 31-year-old amputee has made history, becoming the first person to climb 103 floors of one of the world's tallest skyscrapers with a bionic leg. Zac Vawter was wearing a prosthetic leg controlled by his mind today when he participated in "SkyRise Chicago." The charity event raises funds for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The event marked the bionic leg's first test in the public eye.

As Vawter thought about climbing stairs, the motors, chains, and belts in his leg synchronized the movements of its ankle and knee. Researchers cheered him on and noted the smart leg's performance. Institute officials say the leg and its climber held up "fantastically." Vawter finished the climb in about 45 minutes.

Zac Vawter, fitted with an experimental bionic leg, looks out onto the Ledge at the Willis Tower, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in Chicago.
Zac Vawter, fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg, looks out onto the Ledge at the Willis Tower, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in Chicago.   (Brian Kersey)
Zac Vawter practices walking with an experimental bionic leg at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in Chicago.
Zac Vawter practices walking with an experimental "bionic" leg at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in Chicago.   (Brian Kersey)
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