Center for Extreme Bionics

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MIT Media Lab

Half of the world's population currently experiences some form of physical or neurological disability. At some point in our lives, it is all too likely that a family member or friend will be struck by a limiting or incapacitating condition, from dementia, to the loss of a limb, to a debilitating disease such as Parkinson's. Today we acknowledge—and even "accept"—serious physical and mental impairments as inherent to the human condition. But must these conditions be accepted as "normal"? What if, instead, through the invention and deployment of novel technologies, we could control biological processes within the body in order to repair or even eradicate them? What if there were no such thing as human disability? 

These questions drive the work of Media Lab faculty members Hugh Herr and Ed Boyden, and MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer, the founders of the the Center for Extreme Bionics. This dynamic new interdisciplinary organization draws on the existing strengths of research in synthetic neurobiology, biomechatronics, and biomaterials, combined with enhanced capabilities for design development and prototyping.

Half of the world's population currently experiences some form of physical or neurological disability. At some point in our lives, it is all too likely that a family member or friend will be struck by a limiting or incapacitating condition, from dementia, to the loss of a limb, to a debilitating disease such as Parkinson's. Today we acknowledge—and even "accept"—serious physical and mental impairments as inherent to the human condition. But must these conditions be accepted as "normal"? What if, instead, through the invention and deployment of novel technologies, we could control biological processes within the body in order to repair or even eradicate them? What if there were no such thing as human disability? 

These questions drive the work of Media Lab faculty members Hugh Herr and Ed Boyden, and MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer, the founders of the the Center for Extreme Bionics. This dynamic new interdisciplinary organization draws on the existing strengths of research in synthetic neurobiology, biomechatronics, and biomaterials, combined with enhanced capabilities for design development and prototyping.