External appendages became internal implants such as artificial hips and knees.

For instance, Phonak hearing aids improve not only overall hearing, but can zoom focus on conversations, create white noise, double as a phone and serve multiple functions that our natural ears cannot.

Now that six MIT rock stars - Hugh Herr, Ed Boyden, Canan Dagdeviren, Kevin Esvelt, Robert Langer and Joseph Jacobson - have launched the Center for Extreme Bionics, prosthetics may take some extreme leaps.

And we may change our notion of who is "disabled" and what a human can do.

Herr is exhibit A of this thesis.

Addressing disabilities requires integrating neuroscience, regenerative medicine and synthetic biology alongside traditional mechatronics.

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