Today in History – November 4, 1946 – Benjamin Palmer patents artificial leg technology. The leg had a relatively noiseless pliable joint that preserved its contour in all positions and contained tendons of gut and springs to give more elasticity, stength, durability and freedom of motion than previously available. It was by no means the first artificial leg, but was the first to be patented in the U.S. with these features. According to the inMotion website: the first written record of a prosthesis is the Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India written in Sanskrit between 3500 and 1800 B.C. The poem recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to combat.
Today, biomedical engineering and bioengineering combine multiple fields of biology and engineering. Biomedical/Bio-engineers work closely with biologists, medical doctors and health practictioners to develop medical instruments, artificial organs, prosthetic devices, drug delivery systems, diagnostics and imaging systems, and tissue engineering. Our Biomedical and Bioengineering Education Community site has related news, events and curricular resources. Also see our resources for and about persons with disabilities in science and engineering.
Also on this date, Faraday discovered diamagnetism in 1845, the first cash register was patented by James and John Ritty in 1879 and African American Thomas Elkins patents an improved refrigerator design in 1879.