Artificial Leg Comes with a Normal Gait!

steppingouti

Did you know over 50% of amputees take at least one fall per year due to limited prosthetic mobility? That compares to only about a third of all elderly people over the age of 65!

[Professor Mo Rastgaar] and his PhD student [Evandro Ficanha] set out to fix that problem, and they have come up with a microprocessor controlled prosthetic foot capable of well, to put it bluntly, walking normally.

Working with a scientist from the Mayo Clinic, the pair have created a prosthesis that uses sensors to actively adjust the ankle to create a normal stride. Commercially available prosthetics can do this as well, but can only adjust the foot in an up-down motion, which is fine — if you only plan on walking in a straight line. In addition to having an ankle that can also roll side-to-side and front-to-back based on sensor feedback, they have also moved the control mechanism up the leg using a cable-driven system, which lightens the foot making it easier to use.

We find the test apparatus almost as interesting as the prosthesis itself. The researchers had to come up with a way to measure the performance of the prosthesis when used to walk in an arc. The solution was the turn-table treadmill seen above.

If you have time, check out the video demonstration on the main article’s page which covers the leg and the treadmill build.

[via Reddit]

10 thoughts on “Artificial Leg Comes with a Normal Gait!

    1. Reminds of this…
      A lady went into a bar in Waco and saw a cowboy with his feet propped up on a table. He had on the biggest boots she’d ever seen! The woman asked the cowboy, “Is it true what they say about men with big feet?”
      The cowboy grinned and said, “Shore is, little lady! Why don’t ya come on out to the bunkhouse and let me prove it to you?”
      The woman wanted to find out for herself, so she spent the night with him. The next morning she handed him a $100 bill.
      Blushing, he said, “Well, thankee, ma’am. Ah’m real flattered. Ain’t nobody ever paid me fer mah services before.”
      The woman replied, “Don’t be flattered. Take the money and buy yourself some boots that fit.”

  1. This is an amazing time for prosthetics. Just in the past 10 years we’ve gone from totally mechanical “dumb” limbs to ones that read nerve impulses, including arms where you can actually control the fingers. It’d be nice if less of the innovation were driven by the number of men and women coming back from overseas with fewer parts than they left with, of course…

    1. Obligatory joke – Obviously this isn’t funded by the Ministry of Silly Walks. Anyhoo yes prosthetics have come a long way but I think the best limb replacements will come when we figure out how to make the body regrow it’s own limbs because you can’t beat home grown.

  2. I was thinking that instead of a foot, there should be a miniature segway attached to the bottom of the prosthesis. Better stability, and you could walk faster than someone with two feet. Weight might be an issue, though…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s