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Meet "Yorick", the Bionic Skeleton

Yorick is a "bionic" skeleton. Bionic means electronic devices and mechanical parts (called medical devices or implants) are used in place of real body parts that are damaged or that no longer work. These devices can actually help people perform normal, everyday tasks.

Where is Yorick?

Yorick was created as a teaching aid to demonstrate how these medical devices work. He used to travel frequently and appear at schools, professional meetings, university lectures, training courses and health fairs to educate kids and adults.

In November 2003, Yorick 'retired' from FDA. He became part of a museum display called 'Inventing Ourselves.' The display is in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

What are medical devices?

People use medical devices when they have lost the use of a real body part, because of injury in an accident or damage from a disease. For example, a person who loses an arm in an accident might get a replacement arm that will still allow him to eat, lift things, throw a ball, or tie his shoes. And there are even people who need a whole new replacement body part, such as an artificial heart, in order to live.

Definitions of some of the medical and scientific words related to Yorick

See Yorick and all of his medical devices. If you don't know the meaning of any of the highlighted words in the captions, click on those words and you'll return to the definitions below.

silicone - rubbery material used to form artificial body parts, such as an ear or chin.

implant - to put into the body through surgery; or an object that is put into the body.

mandible - the lower jaw bone.

artificial - not real; not natural; made by humans rather than by nature; imitation or substitute for real thing.

ligament - a band of tough tissue that joins two or more bones together and helps to strengthen and support the joints.

joint - the place between two bones of the skeleton.

arthritis - an aching or burning of the joints.

bionic - using electronic or mechanical parts in place of real body parts. replacement - to take the place of; substitute.

medical device - a part or machine made to help the human body do things; also products used for surgery (for example, scalpels), and to help with healing (for example, stitches, bandages).

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