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Hugh Herr

Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 2016

At its meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, made up of Juan Luis Arsuaga Ferreras, Mara Dierssen Sotos, Marián del Egido Rodríguez, Luis Fernández-Vega Sanz, Cristina Garmendia Mendizábal, Álvaro Giménez Cañete, Bernardo Hernández González, José Antonio Martínez Álvarez, Clara Menéndez Santos, Amador Menéndez Velázquez, Ginés Morata Pérez, Enrique Moreno González, César Nombela Cano, Teresa Rodrigo Anoro, Inés Rodríguez Hidalgo, Marta Sanz-Solé, Manuel Toharia Cortés, chaired by Pedro Miguel Echenique Landiríbar and with Vicente Gotor Santamaría acting as secretary, has unanimously decided to grant the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research to American researcher Hugh Herr, a world leader in bionics, for having developed the first prostheses capable of emulating human locomotion, thus enabling disabilities, such as the one he himself has, to be overcome.

Herr’s pioneering research in biomechatronics, combining artificial intelligence, neurophysiology and robotics, has resulted in a new class of “smart” bionic prostheses that can be controlled by the brain. His methods are based on a range of cutting-edge scientific and technological disciplines and have had a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities via adaptive prostheses that enable movement that is similar to physiological movement. He has also developed exoskeletons which, as external structures adapted to the body, allow the enhancement of human physical capabilities.

These contributions are accelerating man-machine integration, which will allow improving the quality of life of millions of people.

Oviedo, 1st June 2016

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