Biomechatronics | FAQs
Massachusetts institute of technology, MIT, MIT Media Lab, robotics, prosthetics, prostheses, exoskeletons, orthoses, orthosis, science, engineering, biomechanics, mechatronics,
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FAQs

Please read our FAQs before sending an email.  We are unable to reply directly to inquiries addressed in the FAQs.

How do I call?
We are a research group working diligently to bring bionic technology to the public, but we are not a commercial or public entity.  Due to the high volume of incoming inquiries, we cannot return individual phone calls.  We also cannot reply to inquiries addressed in the below FAQs.

How do I apply to join the Biomechatronics Group?
Postdocs, research staff, technical staff, and visiting students should complete the appropriate form on our Contact page as we are always recruiting exceptional talent.

Graduate student candidates must first be admitted to MIT before applying to our group.  Admissions information may be found on the MIT Media Lab admissions page for the Media Arts and Sciences program, or the MIT admissions page for other programs.  Additional information for international students is available from the International Applicants page.  After successful admission to MIT, please complete the Biomechatronics Research Assistant form on our Contact page.

The Biomechatronics group participates in the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).  Eligibility requirement for the UROP program can be found on the MIT UROP page.  After determining your own eligibility, qualified candidates should fill out the Biomech UROP form here.

I am a current MIT student, is it possible to meet with Professor Herr?
The Individual Request for Appointment form must be submitted to the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit.edu with a minimum of 2 weeks advance notice of request.

Is it possible to tour your lab?
All Media Lab tour requests must be directed to the Visitors Office visits [at] media.mit.edu.  We apologize that the volume of requests exceed our ability to accommodate lab tours.  Despite your travel plans, please refrain from dropping in.  We are an active research space and unannounced visitors are a disservice to our mission.

Is it possible to speak with members of the Biomechatronics Group?
Please complete the Comments and Questions form found at the bottom of this FAQs page.  Requests will be responded to at our group’s discretion.

How do I volunteer or intern with your group?
Although we support ambition, imagination, and creativity, we do not currently have a volunteer, internship, or short term rotation program available.  Matriculated Harvard students may inquire through the HST department for course credit.  Matriculated undergraduate students from any university are encouraged to consider applying for the MIT MSRP summer research program.  If accepted, potential placement within Biomechatronics may be discussed with the MSRP organizers.

What direction should I take my studies in order to pursue a future in the field of bionics?
Consider augmenting your background with electrical, mechanical, biomedical, computer science, medicine…it really depends on what you love, because school will be a 24/7 job!  If you like design and controls, that would be more like software and embedded systems.  If you like to build, that would be more like hardware.  If you like to do everything, that’s great, because bionic systems will need to be interfaced with the human body, electrical, and mechanical components!  Talk to as many people as possible.  Visit universities/colleges near you and read as much as you can.  While our lab does not have a volunteer or internship program available (please see above), many organizations actively recruit.  Apply for opportunities relevant to your interests and gain as much experience as possible.

I am a physician/researcher interested in collaboration, how do I schedule a meeting with Professor Herr?
All requests for meetings must be scheduled with the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit.edu.

I am producing a media piece (i.e.  journal/news/book/article/documentary etc.) how do I request an interview with Professor Herr?
If you are press, please contact the Media Lab Press Liaison, Alexandra Kahn, akahn [at] media.mit.edu.  Speaking requests, conferences, and other event requests must also be submitted to the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit.edu with a minimum of 2 weeks advance notice of request.

We are organizing a conference/event, how do we invite Professor Herr to give an plenary seminar/invited lecture?
The Events/Conference/Speaking Events form must be submitted to the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit. edu.  With a minimum of 2 weeks advance notice of request.

How do I know if surgery is the best option for me?
We cannot provide medical advice in any capacity.  Please contact your healthcare provider and/or surgeon to recommend the best option for your individual situation.

How do I get a medical assessment of my current condition?  I will send medical records, videos, and supplemental information.
We cannot provide medical advice in any capacity.  Please contact your healthcare provider and/or surgeon to recommend the best option for your individual situation.

How do I get fit for a prosthesis/orthosis?
Please work with your healthcare provider, surgeon, or physical therapist to recommend a reliable professional in your area.

Will you refer me to a specialist for my particular inquiry?
We are a research institution and cannot provide referrals of any kind.

How do I get a powered prosthesis, exoskeleton, or orthosis?
The company that manufactures the commercially available powered ankle-foot prosthesis is BiOM, http://www.biom.com.  Our powered ankle-foot orthosis and exoskeleton are currently in research phases and are not yet commercially available.

How much do the BiOMs cost?  Where do I get affordable prostheses?
Please contact BiOM, http://www.biom.com to inquire about cost and insurance.

My family/friend/loved one needs a prosthetic device.  They are too expensive.  Will you provide one for us?
Please understand that we are a research lab and do not manufacture commercial devices.

Are the BiOMs available in countries outside of the United States?
Please contact BiOM, http://www.biom.com.

Myself (or a loved one) suffers from MS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, polio, spinal muscular atrophy, spinal cord injury, stroke, cancer, or other condition.  What products are available from your lab?
The only commercially available product is for amputees, the BiOM, http://www.biom.com.  Our powered ankle-foot orthosis and exoskeleton are currently in research phases and are not yet commercially available.

I am inspired by Professor Herr’s TED talk.  Where do I get a powered dancing BiOM?
The powered dancing ankle-foot was a custom design programmed into the commercial BiOM.  This custom design was developed specifically for the TED presentation and is not currently available.

My child may benefit from the research in your lab, how do I make an appointment?
Please understand that our academic research must stay within the focus of our mission, and of our funding agencies.  You might consider identifying investigators and physicians who are currently active in pediatric research, and who may already have existing collaborations that target a patient population more similar to your child.

Do you make prostheses for hands and/or arms?
Our research focus currently targets the foot, ankle, and knee.  For persons with upper extremity amputations, please consider other research initiatives, such as a pioneering surgical procedure known as Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) that controls a prosthetic arm with thought.

Is it possible to get legal counsel?
Whether you are a legal client or representing attorney, we are unfortunately unavailable to provide legal counsel.

I have a great idea for an invention, how do I get feedback?
Please be advised that the Biomechatronics Group cannot review any materials due to intellectual property restrictions.

We are a start-up company, will you product test our device?
Due to intellectual property restrictions, we cannot provide feedback to any product that is not yet patent protected.  You may send public data sheets to the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit.edu and request a time to meet with our group.  Please know that your research must be directly aligned with our mission, and that these requests are granted on a very limited basis.

Our company develops a product that is applicable to your research.  How do we initiate collaboration?
You may send public data sheets to the Biomechatronics Group Administrator, Lindsey Reynolds, lreynolds [at] media.mit.edu and request a time to meet with our group.  Please know that your research must be directly aligned with our mission, and that these requests are granted on a very limited basis.

Do you make prostheses for pets?
Although we love animals, we do not yet have a research division that focuses on veterinary devices.  You might consider identifying researchers/veterinarians who are actively investigating prostheses for animals, and who may already have existing research collaborations that target our pets.

I am an able bodied/amputee individual.  How do I find out about participating in your on-going research studies?
Please complete this Request for Research Participation Information form.  If our current enrollment is aligned with your background, we will contact you accordingly.

How do I share my (or a loved one’s) story with your group?
Please complete our My Shared Story form.  We value the individuals who reach out to our group, even if we are unable to respond directly.

My questions/concerns were not addressed in these FAQs, what do I do?
Please complete this Comments and Questions form.  Entries will be responded to at our group’s discretion.