Hugh Herr

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Hugh Herr, 2013-crop.jpg

Hugh Herr is an American rock climber, engineer, and biophysicist.

In January 1982, after having ascended a difficult technical ice route in Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Herr was surprised by a blizzard after three nights in −20 °F (−29 °C) degree temperatures his legs suffered severe frostbite. Subsequently both of Herr's legs had to be amputated below the knees.


While a postdoctoral fellow at MIT he began working on advanced leg prostheses and orthoses, devices that emulate and in some situations surpass the functionality of the human leg. Herr has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers in the field of rehabilitation science and is the holder (or co-holder) of more than 40 patents. In 2011, TIME magazine coined him the "Leader of the Bionic Age".

Notable grants and awards

  • Sports Hall of Fame (1989)
  • United States College Academic Team (1990)
  • Young American Award (1990)
  • Science magazine Next Wave: Best of 2003
  • TIME magazine Top Ten Inventions 2004
  • With the Providence VA Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine and Brown University, a $7.2 million grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to create "biohybrid" limbs to restore natural function to amputees. (2004)
  • Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Leadership Award (2005)
  • 13th Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment (2007)
  • TIME magazine Top Ten Inventions 2007
  • Action Maverick Award (2008)
  • Spirit of Da Vinci Award (2008)
  • R&D Magazine’s 2014 Innovator of the Year
  • Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award (2014) in the Technology Category
  • Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research (2016)

External links