Prosthetic limbs and other artificial body parts have come a long way in the last 10 to 20 years, and many on the market and under development today can restore nearly the same functions as the human body parts they're replacing, or even improve them.
Developers from the London robotics company Shadow Robot -- at the behest of the London television company Darlow Smithson Productions -- recently undertook a project to see how much of a replica of a human could be built using prosthetic body parts.
This resulted in the Bionic Man, which built about two-thirds of a walking, talking human with an array of prosthetic parts, including a blood-pumping, beating artificial heart.
To see a slideshow of some of the prosthetics used to create the Bionic Man, as well as other cutting-edge designs in artificial body parts, go to Design News (a sister site).
Rex Bionics has developed a robotic leg system that provides people bound to a wheelchair the ability to stand up and walk unaided by crutches or braces. The system includes 29 onboard computer processors that control movement and balance through joystick control, allowing the Rex user to direct the device to sit, stand, walk, and turn easily. The robotic legs can even walk up steps and up or down slopes.
(Source: Rex Bionics)