This single still is from the widescreen version of ?World Record?, one of the Animatrix animated shorts. It has been considerably scaled back from the original material.
The full sequence this image belongs to, brings tears to the eyes. It occurs just after the athlete, Dan Davis, won his race, and tore his avatar body to pieces. He is back in the simulation now, in a Matrix hospital. Dan is in a wheelchair, being pushed by a nurse. His legs are a riot of pins, screws and metal plates. His flesh is a twisted mess, and Dan will never walk again, there?s nothing of the legs left, save the basic structure. Muscles and ligaments alike are twisted and torn. One knee exploded.
Dan drops two walnuts he was carrying in his hands, and the nurse stops the chair to pick them up. Dan grunts, and leans forwards. That is the moment of the frame above. Dan is struggling to stand. The complex arrangement of screws and braces on his legs, pinning them in position, apparently no-longer pinning quite so well.
As he fights against them, he is straining not just with the muscles of the avatar, but with his own will. Determined to walk again, he moves his legs how he knows they should move. The simulation?s response to this, to this almost administrative level command, is to obey in the only way it knows how. His legs move.
Unfortunately, the braces holding his legs together are in the way. Like a hierarchical rag doll, the two systems vie, and in the end, the older, more established system ? and the one using administrative access ? wins out. The braces strain then break, screws flying off as bracing plates pass maximum tolerance. Everyone knew he would never walk again. Yet his will refuses to bow to the limits of the Matrix, the memory of outside string and vivid. Dan utters one word, a wistful "Free!" He then takes a step forwards, and another, his useless legs somehow supporting him, pure will over simulation, once again.
It is difficult to say how likely this situation is. It is certain to say that an avatar body used for virtual embodiment of a human consciousness, unless the designers are very very careful, is going to wind up with far higher tolerances for possible movement, than a natural human body, subject to absolute physical lays, would have.
In the Matrix universe, there is a secondary system in place, a type of higher access rights for movement, utilised by Agents and Zion hackers alike. If the system exists, it can be hacked into. When the mind is connected to the system directly, the mind itself, can feasibly hack the system. That appears to be what has happened here.
It may also be quite possible that this could occur in a brain-computer interface system of the not too distant future. Care must be taken as BMI interfaces become ever more complex and subtle, to see that it does not.
Link: Animatrix: World Record