Professor Robert Riener (Switzerland)

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The Future of Prosthetics

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Combining neuroscience, biomechanics and cutting-edge engineering Robert is a pioneer in the latest generation of prosthetics, making highly accurate (in terms of appearance and reaction) replacement limbs a reality. He also looks at VR in medicine, cyborgs, and what the next great innovation might be.


Robert Riener is a leading academic in the field of biomechanics, prosthetic engineering and robotics in healthcare. A Professor of Sensory-Motor Systems, he is a pioneer in the area of replicating human movement with machines, and is the founder of the Cybathlon, an event referred to as “the Olympics for augmented humans”.

Having studied mechanical engineering Robert then focused on research in neuroprosthetics, the area that combines neuroscience and engineering to govern the control of prosthetics. He went on to work in the fields of rehabilitation, virtual reality and robotics.

Robert examines a near-future where conventional artificial limbs are replaced by bespoke, highly-engineered devices almost indistinguishable from human ones, not just in appearance and movement, but also in the experience of the user. He looks at VR as a tool for medical training as well as the impact of a whole range of healthcare technologies, the social reaction to real-life cyborgs, and where the next big innovation might come from.

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