These Cyborg Legs Were Made for Walking

The CYBERLEGs project aims to develop robot legs to help amputees walk.

Recently we traveled to Pisa to visit Nicola Vitiello, a young researcher at the Institute of Biorobotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, to check out the CYBERLEGs project he's working on. The effort represents the cutting edge in the world wearable robotics, and is aimed at developing an "artificial cognitive system for trans-femoral amputees’ lower-limb functional replacement and assistance​." 

In other words, the project hopes to let people who've lost their legs walk again. Researchers are studying body movements in fine detail to both replicate and improve them, in order to allow robotic prostheses work as seamlessly as possible.​

Of course, if Vitiello and company can build robotic legs that are faster and stronger than a human's, what's stopping them from bringing on the cyborg revolution? Made curious and concerned by half a century of sci-fi dystopias, we spoked directly with Vitiello, who explained how the prototype legs are designed and manufactured—and promised that they'll only be used for good. 

Video produced by Andrea Cristallini at Motherboard Italy.