Alec McMorris removes his passive prosthetic leg.

Bionic Leg and Arm Give New Abilities to Amputees, Including Drummer

Jason Barnes is the fastest drummer alive. At 40 beats per second, no drummer on earth can keep up with Barnes⏤it would require using an AI-driven prosthetic drum arm. Below is a video of Jason and the arm developed at Georgia Tech’s Center For Music Technology. The video tells Jason’s story.

I believe that we are the generation that will see physical disability disappear,” said Dr. Tommaso Lenzi.

The most basic artificial limb is a passive prosthetic, which is a cosmetic restoration that provides no more than basic function back to its user. Prosthetic limbs have been around for years, but now they come with a brain. Some have the ability to read the electric signals through ultrasound sensors right off the patients own brain waves. The AI-based software helps patients control the limbs.

A story on describes how Dr. Tommaso Lenzi and his researchers at University of Utah’s Bionic Engineering Lab are changing the future of advanced prosthetics.

Dr. Lenzi decided to challenge the conventional approach to prosthetics by making two major fundamental changes. First, he created a powered prosthesis that is even lighter than a biological human leg. His leg is nearly half the weight of any comparable powered prosthesis. Second, while users have controlled prosthetics either manually or through sensory detecting nerve cuffs in the past, Dr. Lenzi’s team is letting the leg think for itself. Basically, Dr. Lenzi’s bionic leg is a lightweight, autonomous device that works symbiotically with its user by reading their normal body movements.

More than just arm or legs can be restored for amputees⏤also prosthetic fingers for musicians.

The future for the bionic leg is promising. Lighter and more powerful than a biological leg, the robotic option has the potential to provide its user with the ability to operate their limbs like they would with their regular body. But they will be faster, stronger, and a lot more like The 6 Million Dollar Man than ever imagined.

Alec McMorris straps on his bionic leg.