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More: The History of Prosthetics Reveals a Long Tradition of Human Cyborgs

For centuries, humans have invented ingenious devices to replace lost limbs. Here we have a gallery of some of the most cutting-edge prosthetics from years past — comparable to today’s bionic arms. What’s fascinating is that these historic devices weren’t just about limb replacement, but also enhancement.

Even 500 years ago, people yearned to upgrade their bodies and have new limbs that did more than the old ones.

“He was the first man I’d met who wasn’t afraid of me.” -Hillary Clinton


lil dude just hugged a chicken

Live for 32


But the truth is, graduates, there will always be folks who make assumptions about you based on superficial things like where you’re from, or what you’re wearing, or how you look.  There will always be folks who judge you based on just one thing that you say or do; folks who define you based on one isolated incident.  And here at Virginia Tech, I know you all know a thing or two about what that’s like.

But you also know that in the end, people can only define you if you let them.  In the end, it’s up to each of us to define ourselves.  It’s up to each of us to invent our own future with the choices we make and the actions we take.  That’s why Norris Hall is now the home of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and West Ambler Johnston Hall will soon be reopened as a new residential college.  That is why this year, on April 16th, you started attending class again, choosing to honor their lives by moving forward with your own

And that is why, when you all are out there in the world and you meet someone and you tell them that you’re from Virginia Tech, and they say, “Huh, isn’t that the school where” — I want you to interrupt them right there and say, “Yes, it is the school where we have some of the best academic programs and professors in the country.”  That’s what you tell them. You tell them, “Yes, it is the school where students are passionate about serving their country and supporting each other.

You tell them, “Yes, it’s the school where we produce graduates who are leaders in their industries, and pillars of their communities, and who carry their Hokie pride with them every day for the rest of their lives.”  You say, “Yes, that is the school I attend.  That is Virginia Tech.”

First Lady Michelle Obama speaking to the Virginia Tech Class of 2012 on Friday, May 11, 2012, during the Spring Commencement Ceremony