Jean-François Duval’s entry to 2015 Hackaday Prize is FlexSEA, a wearable robotics toolkit.
The human body is an incredibly efficient machine, the result of millions of years of optimization via evolution and natural selection. Improving on that is hard, really hard, but sometimes, we have no choice but to replace biological limbs with artificial ones. Every year, 185,000 Americans get an amputation and the large majority of them will end up in a wheelchair, or with a passive or quasi-passive artificial limb that is only slightly better than a peg leg.
Can’t we do better? What about that revolutionary design that you saw in the news? Truth is, we are now able to design powered prosthetic limbs that will truly change people’s lives. Sadly, a very small subset of the successful research projects will reach the market. The commercialized products will often have a price tag comparable to a mid-sized car, not something that everyone can afford (especially if you need one per leg!)