Designed an artificial ankle that adapts to irregular surfaces

Over the past few decades the technology of prosthetic limbs have progressed significantly, going from the category of wooden stumps in the high-tech works of art. Dentures can be bionic, controlled directly by the brain and also have several really amazing features, for example, to simulate the sensation of touch and send them to the person. But how good was today’s prostheses, they are still very far from a full replacement of limbs.

The main problem lies in their limited ability to simulate the subtle movements and sensations that are produced and passed from the real of the hands and feet.

Engineers, physiologists and robotics Vanderbilt University are trying to solve this problem. Their latest development is a high-tech artificial ankle. Unlike conventional artificial ankles, working on the principle of passive absorption (absorption) of a push when walking through a system of springs and cushioning material, developed by the Vanderbilt University the prototype can adapt to a variety of surfaces and style of walking. Her movements as similar to the movements of this ankle. It is able to control the tilt and lift of the foot, which facilitates movement on uneven surfaces.

The system works through motor and an actuator element located inside of the joint. They are controlled by microcomputer, which calculates every move and every step with artificial limbs. Professor of mechanical engineering Vanderbilt University Michael Goldfarb, who invented this high-tech artificial ankle, says that such a device “for the first time able to adapt to what is around him.” The scientist adds that the user of the prosthesis will be much more comfortable to travel on inclines and stairs, as the device “determines what you do and are adjusted accordingly to that action.”

Foot prosthesis with high-tech artificial ankle checked out Mike Sasser who lost a leg in a car accident.

“I experienced the prostheses with hydraulic ankles. But they were uncomfortable, heavy and not suitable for a person involved in active life. This prosthesis is the complete opposite,” commented the man.

Development of the prosthesis is at an early stage. Now you must connect the power cord. However, Goldfarb and his team are working on how to make it standalone and want to release his high-tech artificial ankle on the commercial market within the next years.

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