Vanderbilt Develops “Bionic” Leg Prosthesis

A few decades ago, wood was still the material de riguer for prosthetic limbs. Think about that for a minute, then watch this video and marvel over how far we’ve come.

Researchers at the Vanderbilt Center for Intelligent Mechatronics (am I the only one who thinks Mechatron sounds like the name of a Transformers character?) have developed a “bionic” prosthesis that weighs less than a natural leg and requires 30-40% less energy than a conventional artificial legs. Research News @Vanderbilt reports:

The device uses the latest advances in computer, sensor, electric motor and battery technology to give it bionic capabilities: It is the first prosthetic with powered knee and ankle joints that operate in unison. It comes equipped with sensors that monitor its user’s motion. It has microprocessors programmed to use this data to predict what the person is trying to do and operate the device in ways that facilitate these movements.

This is an incredible piece of machinery. It even features an “anti-stumble routine” that senses if its owner is starting to stumble, at which point it raises itself up to clear whatever obstacle is in its path and then plants itself onto the floor to prevent a fall. It’s like something out of science fiction. We tip our hats to you, Vanderbilt!

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