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Superhuman Show by Freethink

The Superhuman show by Freethink is an original series about the amazing advances in medical innovation that are making the present look more like a sci-fi depiction of the future. Join us as we meet the engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors and patients who are giving people a new lease on life today, while building our superhuman future of tomorrow. Watch the Season 5 Trailer and full episodes below.

Superhuman Season 5

Superhuman
The Most Advanced Bionic Leg on the Planet & the Team Bringing it to Life
The Emerging Cyborg
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Superhuman
The Most Advanced Bionic Leg on the Planet & the Team Bringing it to Life
Alec McMorris is testing one of the world’s most advanced prosthetics - an AI powered bionic leg.
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August 28, 2019

Alec McMorris is testing one of the world’s most advanced prosthetics - an AI powered bionic leg. See how Dr. Tommaso Lenzi and the Bioengineering Lab at the University of Utah are revolutionizing life for people who require artificial limbs.

Superhuman
Robotic Wheelchair Revolution
Robotic Wheelchair Revolution
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Superhuman
Robotic Wheelchair Revolution
Part Wheelchair. Part Robot. Is this the future of accessibility?
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How Rory Cooper Built the Custom Wheelchair When people think about using wheelchairs, they probably don’t envision a custom design. Instead, they picture a bulky frame, handicap ramps, special vans for transportation with archaic wheelchair lifts, and a design out of the past. The sad truth is wheelchair technology has changed very little in the last 200 years. And over time, these dated designs can cause physical injury...

Superhuman
Spinal Implants: Helping the Paralyzed Walk Again
Spinal Implants: Helping the Paralyzed Walk Again
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Superhuman
Spinal Implants: Helping the Paralyzed Walk Again
Walking after complete spinal cord injury used to be a far-fetched dream. But, with advances in spinal cord implants for paralysis, even paraplegics have been able to regain mobility and walk again.
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August 14, 2019

Walking after complete spinal cord injury used to be a far-fetched dream. But, with advances in spinal cord implants for paralysis, even paraplegics have been able to regain mobility and walk again. Discover the inspiring stories of spinal cord research breakthroughs today and see the impact spinal implants have on individuals far and wide.

Superhuman
The Exoskeleton Marathon Racer
The Exoskeleton Marathon Racer
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Superhuman
The Exoskeleton Marathon Racer
How do you bounce back from a life-changing car accident? Adam Gorlitsky decided he would break a world record.
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August 7, 2019

How do you bounce back from a life-changing car accident? Adam Gorlitsky decided he would break a world record. Adam was paralyzed from the waist down in a terrible wreck and thought his track and field days were over. But once approved for an experimental exoskeleton, he gained the ability to walk again and decided to start training. And racing. And breaking records. What he didn’t realize is how much he would inspire...

Superhuman
Electric Skin Gives Sensation Back to Amputees
Electric Skin Gives Sensation Back to Amputees
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Superhuman
Electric Skin Gives Sensation Back to Amputees
Touch is a sensation that connects us all. This scientist created electronic skin that lets people with prosthetic limbs feel.
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September 4, 2019

For amputees, the sensation of a ‘phantom limb’ can be a terrible or disorienting experience -- feeling a hand, arm or leg that isn’t there anymore. But researchers at Johns Hopkins have recognized that these sensations are a clue, and they’re using it to restore the sense of touch.

Superhuman Season 4

Superhuman
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
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Superhuman
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
When it comes to rare diseases, doctors often don’t have enough patients to determine the effectiveness of various treatments. Now, scientists are breeding pigs with the same genetic code as people with a disease in order to create a pool of test "patients" unlike any before.
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May 22, 2018

There are thousands of diseases known to modern medicine without any cure or treatment. Many are too rare to get much attention from doctors, governments, or drug companies. But the gene editing tool CRISPR is offering hope for people with rare and hard to study diseases, like the genetic disease known as NF1. There are tens of thousands of Americans with this tumor-causing nerve disease, but because it has over 4,000...

Superhuman
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
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Superhuman
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
For years, there was no diagnosis, no treatment, and no cure — because his son's disease had never been seen before. That wasn't going to stop this dad.
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May 29, 2018

What do you do when there are no experts to turn to? For computer scientist Matt Might, the answer was obvious: you become the expert. When doctors couldn't figure out his son's disease, he found a way to crack the code. Matt's son, Bertrand, suffers from an extremely rare genetic disease, called NGLY1 deficiency, which causes chronic seizures, liver problems, and developmental delays. In fact, it was so rare that Bertrand...

Superhuman
Helping Kids Walk With Wearable Robots
Helping Kids Walk With Wearable Robots
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Superhuman
Helping Kids Walk With Wearable Robots
Exoskeletons aren't just science fiction anymore. Wearable robots are helping kids with cerebral palsy walk.
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June 5, 2018

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common movement disorder in children, and nearly half of kids with CP can't walk own their own. As bones grow and muscles set incorrectly, walking becomes progressively more difficult. Extensive and repeated surgeries are often required to provide relief, but they can't solve the underlying problem. Now, engineers in the Biomechatronics Lab at Northern Arizona University are hoping that...

Superhuman
Using Virtual Reality to Help Kids with Autism
Using Virtual Reality to Help Kids with Autism
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Superhuman
Using Virtual Reality to Help Kids with Autism
A virtual world offers a new way to engage with kids on the spectrum.
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June 12, 2018

When their autistic son fell in love with a virtual reality headset, Vibha and Vijay Ravindran got an idea: could this unlimited digital world help people who have trouble engaging in the physical world? Together, they founded a company called Floreo to develop VR programs for people with developmental disabilities, helping them break free from the constraints of their bodies and the typical pressures of their learning...

Superhuman
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
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Superhuman
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Your T cells already know how to kill cancer. These doctors can train them to hunt it down.
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June 19, 2018

Josh Feldman was on his honeymoon when he felt a lump on his neck. Returning home after the best month of his life, his doctor gave him the news: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There was no cure, and it was about to get much worse. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy failed to stop his tumors from growing, Josh went to see Dr. John Timmerman, an oncologist at UCLA who is trying something different, known as immunotherapy. This...

Superhuman Season 3

Superhuman
Meet the One-Armed Drummer With a Cybernetic Arm
The World’s First Bionic Drummer
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Superhuman
Meet the One-Armed Drummer With a Cybernetic Arm
Jason Barnes lost his arm in a horrible accident. Then he became the fastest drummer in the world...
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April 18, 2018

Jason Barnes lost his arm in a horrible accident... and then he became the fastest drummer in the world. Now he’s working with doctors and engineers who are designing ultrasound sensors that could give him back fine motor control. Join us as he sits down to play piano for the first time since his accident. Today, the one-armed drummer has his sights set on conquering his next musical instrument: the piano. But his...

Superhuman
Patients are Finding Relief from New Essential Tremors Treatment using Focused...
These Doctors are Performing Brain Surgery ... Using Sound
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Superhuman
Patients are Finding Relief from New Essential Tremors Treatment using Focused...
Bonnie D'Ettorre suffers from a nerve disorder causing uncontrollable shaking. Doctors at Ohio State are about to "burn it out" using a thousand beams of ultrasound.
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April 25, 2018

Patients stricken with “essential tremors” have their lives upended by this nerve disorder which causes uncontrollable shaking. But doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are helping these patients find relief by “burning out” the problem-causing part of the brain with a high-intensity focused ultrasound. This miracle treatment significantly reduces tremors without the potential for complications posed...

Superhuman
How 3D-Printing Is Revolutionizing Heart Surgery
How 3D-Printing Is Revolutionizing Heart Surgery
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Superhuman
How 3D-Printing Is Revolutionizing Heart Surgery
When a young boy was facing a complicated and dangerous heart operation, his doctors created an exact model of his heart to plan the surgery. And it probably saved his life.
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May 1, 2018

Joseph had one of the most complicated heart conditions his doctors had ever seen. He faced a long and dangerous operation or a heart transplant. Without either, he wouldn't survive. Opting for surgery, Dr. Petros Anagnostopoulos at the American Family Children's Hospital prepped like few have ever done. He and his team 3D-printed a copy of Joseph's heart that they could explore and understand. It was another step forward...

Superhuman
These Gloves Can Teach You to Play the Piano. And Maybe Heal Your Brain.
These Gloves Can Teach You to Play the Piano. And Maybe Heal Your Brain.
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Superhuman
These Gloves Can Teach You to Play the Piano. And Maybe Heal Your Brain.
Through "passive haptic learning", these gloves can teach you how to play the piano in an hour. Braille in four hours. Now researchers want to see if victims of traumatic brain injuries can use these gloves to re-learn critical skills.
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May 8, 2018

Georgia Tech researchers Thad Starner and Caitlyn Seim have developed a pair of gloves for playing piano that can magically get you up to speed in just an hour. They've also taught blind people to read braille in four hours, a process that usually takes up to four months. The gloves work through a process called passive haptic learning, and is another great discovery from Georgia Tech researchers. Basically, they vibrate in...

Superhuman
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
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Superhuman
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
VR has long been seen as an escape from the real world. But recently researchers have been putting an unexpected twist on that. They’re now exploring how VR could provide an escape from an unfortunate reality many face everyday: chronic pain.
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May 15, 2018

Opioid addictions have become a dangerous side effect for many that take medications to treat chronic pain. To address this, doctors are exploring alternatives to prescriptions pain medicine. As part of this movement, Dr. Brennan Spiegel at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles has spear-headed some pretty fascinating research. He and his team are using virtual reality to reduce pain. Not only is it surprisingly effective...

Superhuman Season 2

Superhuman
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
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Superhuman
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
The incredible movement of shared designs and tech that’s making prosthetics better and cheaper for everyone.
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October 2, 2017

Powered by 3D printer technology, people are making prosthetics at a fraction of the cost. Watch this episode of “Superhuman” for the story of how e-NABLE, an online network of volunteers, has created 3,000 bionic hands for people in need (mostly kids) across 90 countries.

Superhuman
Brain Implant Gives Quadriplegic Movement
Brain Implant Gives Quadriplegic Movement
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Superhuman
Brain Implant Gives Quadriplegic Movement
A brain implant connected to electrodes could offer hope to those who have lost function in their limbs.
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September 7, 2017

A brain implant connected to electrodes could offer hope to those who have lost function in their limbs.A tragic diving accident while on vacation left Ian Burkhart unable to move most of his body. But a brain implant connected to electrodes on his arm restored his ability to move his fingers and could offer hope to those who have lost function in their limbs.

Superhuman
Father Makes 3D Heart for Daughter
Father Makes 3D Heart for Daughter
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Superhuman
Father Makes 3D Heart for Daughter
When a father’s daughter was diagnosed with a heart disease, he set out to design an innovative 3D model of a heart that doctors could explore in virtual reality to save her life and thousands more.
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September 21, 2017

Any father would do whatever it takes to save their child’s life. So when Steve Levine found out that his daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease, he started thinking of any way he could help. The problem was that his daughter was born with reversed left and right ventricles, the weaker of which would run the risk of giving out as she aged. She had a pacemaker installed at age two, and doctors gave her...

Superhuman
Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement
Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement
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Superhuman
Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement
Could an injection of embryonic stem cells into the spinal cord reverse paralysis?
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September 14, 2017

After a devastating car accident, Lucas Lindner was left almost completely paralyzed. But an injection of embryonic stem cells in his spinal cord has given him back almost complete function of his arms and hands.

Superhuman Season 1

Superhuman
The Real Bionic Man
The Real Bionic Man
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Superhuman
The Real Bionic Man
After losing part of his arm to cancer, Johnny now has one of the world's most advanced prosthetics.
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August 24, 2016

After losing part of his arm to cancer, doctors outfit Johnny, a self-described “hillbilly” from West Virginia, with one of the world’s most advanced robotic arms. Johnny is able to control his new arm with his mind, giving him a level of motor control impossible until now.

Superhuman
Gaining Independence with the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm
Gaining Independence with the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm
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Superhuman
Gaining Independence with the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm
Jerral was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and left paralyzed. Now he's partnering with researchers to regain his independence. »
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September 18, 2016

Jerral was serving in Iraq, his tank was hit by a roadside bomb. The attack left him paralyzed and without his left arm. But rather than letting his injuries define him, Jerral is fighting back with the help of the world’s most advanced prosthetic arm. He’s working with a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins to test the arm that could help Jerral and many other wounded vets like him take back their independence.

Superhuman
The Promise of Gene Therapy
The Promise of Gene Therapy
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Superhuman
The Promise of Gene Therapy
When Karen was told her daughter had an incurable disease, she started a gene therapy company to find a cure.
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August 14, 2016

When doctors told Karen there was no cure for her daughter’s brain disease, she took matters into her own hands. With no scientific background, she created a gene therapy business that can fix the faulty genes in patients like her daughter. Now she’s racing against the clock to extend her daughter’s life and improve the lives of others.

Superhuman
Reversing Blindness
Reversing Blindness
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Superhuman
Reversing Blindness
Vanna was legally blind. Now she can see. Hear her inspiring story and meet the amazing doctors who gave her back her sight.
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September 11, 2016

Vanna started to notice a change in her vision. Six months later, she was legally blind. But Vanna never lost hope, and enrolled in an experimental clinical trial. Her doctors injected stem cells from her hip into her optic nerve. Afterwards, she started to regain her vision. Amazingly, Vanna can now see. This is the story of reversing blindness.

Superhuman
Open Sourcing the Brain
Open Sourcing the Brain
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Superhuman
Open Sourcing the Brain
Open BCI has developed a 3D-printed headset that allows your brain to interact with computers in amazing ways.
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August 21, 2016

OpenBCI has developed a 3D-printed headset that allows our brains to interact with software. Want to measure the effect of meditation on your brain? It's possible. Want to control a prosthetic limb with your mind? It's possible. Right now, the only thing OpenBCI's tech can't do are the things we haven't thought of.

Superhuman
A Life Changed by Robotic Legs
A Life Changed by Robotic Legs
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Superhuman
A Life Changed by Robotic Legs
Robert is paralyzed. But thanks to a robotic exoskeleton, he can walk again.
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September 4, 2016

After an accident, Robert Woo was paralyzed from the chest down. Woo spent the next four years in a wheelchair and in therapy. But even as he learned how to live his new life, he couldn’t stop asking one very simple question: How could humans build skyscrapers, but not something better than a wheelchair? Then Woo heard about bionic exoskeletons. And it changed his life.

Go Deeper: Superhuman Articles

Superhuman
Wearable Robotic Suits Could Be Coming to a Store Near You
Wearable Robotic Suits Could Be Coming to a Store Near You
Superhuman
Wearable Robotic Suits Could Be Coming to a Store Near You
What can lift 500 pounds in each hand, walk for miles and miles with a heavy load, or leap over obstacles in a single bound? Humans - with the help of wearable robotics.
By Teresa Carey
August 7, 2019

What can lift 500 pounds in each hand, walk for miles and miles with a heavy load, or leap over obstacles in a single bound? Humans - with the help of wearable robotics. Alan Asbeck anticipates in less than a decade, everyone will have seen somebody donned in a robot suit. Asbeck is a real-life Tony Stark. He is an engineer building wearable robots for performance enhancement. He says the technology is on the rise. They...

Superhuman
Prosthetics as Fashion: Designers Transform Prosthetic Leg Covers into Wearable Art
prosthetic leg covers
Superhuman
Prosthetics as Fashion: Designers Transform Prosthetic Leg Covers into Wearable Art
Alleles is a premier boutique where amputees can be fitted for fashionable limb covers that make their prosthetic limbs stylish and eye-catching. These designers hope their fashions will help reduce the stigma that comes with prosthetics.
By Teresa Carey
September 6, 2019

McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda’s design studio, Alleles, began as an unorthodox college thesis project. It is now a premier boutique where amputees can be fitted for fashionable limb covers that make their prosthetic limbs stylish and eye-catching. These designers hope their fashions will help reduce the stigma that comes with prosthetics.

Superhuman
Advanced Prosthetics Are Not Only Powerful, They’re Beautiful
Advanced Prosthetics Are Not Only Powerful, They’re Beautiful
Superhuman
Advanced Prosthetics Are Not Only Powerful, They’re Beautiful
"There's a deep, deep relationship between the functionality of the device and a person's identity of what their body is."
August 21, 2019

Before he was director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rory Cooper was customizing his own wheelchairs for racing. His racer was lighter than traditional chairs, optimized for racing on the road, but many of its modifications have since become commonplace in wheelchairs designed for everyday use. Cooper's chair demonstrated the importance of performance and functionality, ensuring that the user's quality of...

Go Deeper
Hope Grows for Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries
Hope Grows for Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries
Go Deeper
Hope Grows for Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries
Severe spinal cord injuries resulting in total paralysis are usually considered permanent, with no hope of recovery. And yet, in a handful of patients spanning multiple levels of severity, movement is being regained.
August 14, 2019

Severe spinal cord injuries (SCIs) -- often called complete injuries by clinicians -- are ones where no readable signal from the brain reaches the spinal cord beneath the trauma, resulting in total paralysis. The possibility that a patient with this type of severe injury might regain movement was once considered so remote that rehab has traditionally seemed a waste of time. And yet, in a handful of patients spanning...

Technology
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and Incredible Function
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and Incredible Function
Technology
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and Incredible Function
For centuries, prosthetics didn't change much at all, but the past 10 years has seen an incredible leap forward in...
By Mike Riggs
August 31, 2016

For centuries, prosthetics didn't change much at all, but the past 10 years has seen an incredible leap forward in the way they look and work.

How Do We Scale Bionic Technology?
Bionic technology and exoskeletons in the workplace
How Do We Scale Bionic Technology?
Right now, assistive bionic technology is really cool and really expensive. This is how it will get better and...
By Mike Riggs
September 8, 2016

Right now, assistive bionic technology is really cool and really expensive. This is how it will get better and cheaper.