Ossur congratulates Hugh Herr on Popular Mechanics 2005 Breakthrough Leadership Award

09/30/05

September 29, 2005 (REYKJAVIK, ICELAND) - Ossur, a trusted and leading global supplier of prosthetic and orthotic devices, today joined Popular Mechanics magazine in congratulating Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics Group at The MIT Media Lab, upon the presentation of Popular Mechanics' 2005 Breakthrough Leadership Award for his work with Ossur on the development of the Rheo KneeTM, among other projects.

2005 marks the first year of the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards, where the publication recognizes 10 individuals and teams, including one winner of its highest recognition, the Breakthrough Leadership Award given to Dr. Herr this year -- for helping to improve lives and expand possibilities in the realms of science, technology and exploration.

Attending today's presentation at the Museum of Natural History in New York City was Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a double amputee and a user of two Rheo Knees by Ossur. Garcia-Tolson is 17 years old and a gold medalist and record-holder at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games in the 200m Individual Medley SM7 Swimming, among many other sporting and leadership awards.

The Rheo Knee is the first artificially intelligent knee system that has the ability to learn and adapt to its user's movements, resulting in continually improved and optimized performance. State-of-the-art bionic technology instantly adapts to real-world walking conditions. Through the use of a microprocessor, integrated sensors, and an innovative magnetorheologic (MR) fluid actuator, the Rheo Knee allows the user to walk as nature intended, with a constantly monitored and improved gait.

Dr. Herr's concept of utilizing MR fluid to increase or decrease the knee's resistance was a key element in the development of the breakthrough prosthesis.

The Rheo Knee's microprocessor control initiates smooth, accurate kinematic and kinetic responses to sensory input as frequently as 1000 times/second. This response is similar to that of an actual nervous system. From firm and unyielding support during standing activities to light and free when walking in confined spaces, response is exceptionally smooth and fast. By modulating magnetic forces, effortless initiation of knee flexion and a normalized pelvic position during pre-swing is better restored to the amputee. Inherent fluid drag is minimized within the knee restoring more natural motion during swing and reducing fatigue levels. Resistance is activated only when required by the amputee.

"It is not very often that a scientist of this caliber is able to put his theories into practice and do so much good, for so many, so quickly," stated Hilmar Janusson, vice president of Research & Development for Ossur. "We are very happy for Hugh and proud of our collaboration with him. He is among the best and the brightest in his field," he added.

Dr. Herr was selected for the prestigious award by a 10-person advisory panel comprised of outstanding scientists, engineers, authors and innovators from a variety of fields. Panel members include Dr. William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering and Donald Keck of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The advisory panel then reviewed the nominations and, along with the editorial board of Popular Mechanics, voted on the final winners. The award was presented to Dr. Herr by Popular Mechanics' editor-in-chief, Jim Meigs.

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