Although yesterday was officially Veteran’s Day, we want to take the time today to thank all Veteran’s for their service. While they all sacrifice their lives to protect us, many sacrifice the loss of a limb. But thanks to the Center for Bionic Medicine, there is great hope for those who have lost a limb in the line of service.
In 2009, then 27-year-old Zac Vawter was enjoying an afternoon ride on his motorcycle in rural Washington State when he took a turn too fast and crashed. Vawter was conscious as he dialed his cell phone to call for help, knowing that what occurred was very bad. Three days later, his left leg was amputated above the knee. Months later, Vawter was connected to RIC’s Center for Bionic Medicine, the world leader in neural control for prosthetic devices, to participate in a ground-breaking clinical research trial focused on developing prosthetic legs controlled by the patient’s own neural information, a process RIC introduced in upper-arm amputees in 2005.
Now 31, Vawter is married with two children and lives in the South Puget Sound area of Seattle. Every few months he travels to Chicago to work with the team at the Center for Bionic Medicine to refine the control mechanisms with this leg system. As a software engineer, Vawter thrives in the highly comprehensive environment of biomedical and software engineers, prosthetics, therapists and physicians, all working hand in hand to advance the field of prosthetics and neural control.
Having been a collegiate runner, Vawter was drawn to the 103-floor challenge of SkyRise Chicago. As a research subject of RIC, he felt compelled to give back to the institution that is advancing the entire industry of lower-limb prosthetics. Zac Vawter is counting down to November 4, when he will put this one-of-a-kind technology to the ultimate test in the plant’s tallest stair climb event.
Make a Veteran’s day today by thanking them for their services and for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe.
Happy Veteran’s Day!