Jim Ewing Returns to the Cayman Islands

Following a devastating rock-climbing accident in the Cayman Islands, Jim Ewing, pictured above, was the first patient to undergo a revolutionary Stepping Strong Center-funded procedure. Video courtesy of STAT.


Today’s conventional prosthetic limbs do not provide feedback to the nervous system. As a result, people with amputated limbs cannot feel the position, speed, and torque of their prosthetic joints without looking at them, making it difficult to control their movement. To create a more complete prosthetic control experience, researchers at MIT’s Center for Extreme Bionics, led by Hugh Herr, PhD, and in partnership with Stepping Strong’s Director of Strategy and Innovation, Matt Carty, MD, invented the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI) procedure—a surgical method that preserves the normal signaling between a patient’s ankle-foot muscles and his or her brain.

In this dramatic video, Jim Ewing returns to the site of his accident to climb once again. Now, when Jim moves his phantom limb, the re-connected muscles move in dynamic pairs and he experiences natural sensations of ankle-foot positions and movements.