Shark attack victim Craig Hutto receives faster bionic leg
Over six years ago while on vacation at Cape Sand Blas, about 50 miles southeast of Panama City, Florida, Craig Hutto, then aged 16, was fishing in waist-deep water about 60 feet from shore with his brother when he was attacked by a bull shark.
The shark attack caused irreversible damage to blood vessels and nerves from the hip to the knee and to most of the muscle in his right leg, so the cardiovascular surgeon decided to amputate.
Hutto was previously fitted with a prosthetic leg from a project supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
, developed by mechanical engineer Michael Goldfarb and his team at Vanderbilt University. However, this week the National Science foundation (NSF) reported
that Hutto has received a new ‘Version 2.0’ funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institute of Health.
Goldfarb explains, it is battery run and has an onboard computer that instructs the motors how to operate the joints.
Through special cues made by Hutto the computer in the prosthetic leg responds to changes in movement. For example, as NSF reports, if Hutto kicks his thigh back this movement informs the computer that he is about to climb stairs and signals the computer to switch modes.
In the NSF report Hutto says the new computerised prosthetic leg makes it easier for him to walk since he doesn’t have to use his hip to manoeuvre the leg; the powered prosthetic swings the leg.
After years of work and study on this type of prosthetic, Goldfarb’s technology has been sold to a major prosthetic manufacturer.
Now 23 year-old Craig Hutto, inspired by the three nurses who saved him from bleeding to death, is training to work in the medical field as a nurse.