Friday, February 09, 2007
It may sound like something from a science fiction movie, but a bionic leg with a computerized brain is helping one Georgia man do something he hasn't done in six years, walk without a limp.When Mario Cieplinski was just 20-years-old, he lost his left leg in a conveyor belt accident, but he never lost his spirit."That's not going to stop me. I was going to enjoy life," said Cieplinski.Cieplinski started with a mechanical knee and then he got his lighter, sleeker C-leg. Then he got a huge boost with a power knee, a bionic leg with a computerized brain."It's truly the future of prosthetics," said Nancy Kaselak of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.The small device is strapped to Cieplinski's good leg and Bluetooth technology mimic his movements and sends the information to the power knee which can propel up and down inclines and push through obstacles like tall grass or rocks."We see so many amputees and what they lack and we wish we could give back to them and can't. This knee can," said Kaselak.Cieplinski is the first Georgian to try out the power knee and one of only 12 people in the world who has one, and it's a gift he is well aware of."To have something basically as close as my real leg, it means a lot. Even if it makes sounds, it's so close to a normal person," said Cieplinski.Cieplinski hopes that other amputees will soon be able to follow in his footsteps.