By Kit Eaton
While you were busy catapulting Angry Birds on your iPhone, scientists at Vanderbilt university were using the components inside your smartphone to create bionic limbs. The Vanderbilt leg, seven years in the making, anticipates the movements of the person wearing it, resulting in a more natural gait instead of the slight dragging experienced by most wearers.
The trick is pulled off by loading the prosthetic up with batteries, powerful mobile processing, and a suite of motion sensors — many of the same core components that are jammed inside your precious, glossy smartphone. And it turns out that the advances achieved in smartphone tech, used cleverly, can change the world for people other than amputees too.