Today’s Solutions: April 14, 2024

Mia is a female bearded vulture, the largest type of flying bird in Europe — but that’s not the most impressive thing about her. She is the first bird to receive a permanent prosthetic foot, and is described as the world’s first “bionic bird.”

Mia was brought into the Owl and Bird Prey Sanctuary in Haringsee, Austria because of a seriously injured foot that eventually had to be amputated. Smaller birds can manage with just one foot, but this isn’t the case for larger, heavier birds. Landing, walking, and hunting would be extremely difficult on one foot for a bird as hefty as a bearded vulture, so a team at the Medical University of Vienna decided to figure out how to give Mia a permanent prosthetic foot.

At the head of the team was Prof. Oskar Aszmann, who had already successfully attached mind-controlled bionic arms to three human amputees.

The team applied a process called osseointegration, where the base of the artificial foot was joined directly to the end of the leg bone where the foot was amputated. Mia started trying out her new bionic foot within three weeks of the surgery. The foot was able to support her full weight after a mere six weeks, and now she is walking and landing normally.

According to Aszmann, “This concept offers a high degree of embodiment, since osseoperception provides direct intuitive feedback, thereby allowing natural use of the extremity for walking and feeding.”

Additional resources: Scientific Reports—Avian extremity reconstruction via osseointegrated leg-prosthesis for intuitive embodiment

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Americans are finally starting to embrace the bidet

Bidet sales are up in America! Editorial confession: We’ve been hoping to write something like that for a long time. If you don’t know ...

Read More

A guide to the bugs eating your garden plants

The summer garden season is in full swing, but finding crawling critters and hole-filled leaves among your delicious produce can dampen your harvest season. ...

Read More

There’s something fishy about this biodegradable plastic

It’s no secret that plastic is not a friend to our environment. Commonly used types of plastic, like polyurethane, are made from non-renewable crude ...

Read More

A new approach to treating brain aneurysms

A brain aneurysm is defined as a weakness in a blood vessel. This area then becomes susceptible to filling with blood and creating a ...

Read More