“Clever” ankle prosthesis scanning the surrounding space

Technology

All-seeing prosthesis

Engineers of the University of Michigan created a prototype of an ankle prosthesis that maximally repeats the natural gait of a healthy leg. To do this, they needed to supply it with a microprocessor control system.

Part of this system is an inexpensive camcorder with a separate computer-controlled drive. It is designed to scan the space in front and behind to prepare the next step. The camera determines the surface profile, and the computer at this time analyzes the information received and sets the optimal angle and stiffness to the ankle, just as the brain does for the normal foot.

The prosthesis is activated by means of a system of cables similar to those of bicycle brakes. The difference is that they are not rigidly attached to the prosthesis, but are in a special pocket. This allows more flexible use of the prosthesis in various situations.

One of the leading developers of the “smart” prosthesis, the assistant professor of the department of mechanical engineering Mo Rastgaar is sure that the “all-seeing” prosthesis will necessarily be in demand and will help many people.

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