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Prosthetics

Buttoning a shirt is one of the 18 tasks assessed (Photo: Linda Resnik, U.S. Department of...

Researchers at Brown University have devised a series of "metrics" designed to monitor the progress of prosthetics patients. The metrics measure the performance of patients with prosthetic arms when carrying out 18 household tasks such as putting on a shirt, pouring soda and tying shoelaces.  Read More

An amputee tests the AMP-Foot 2.0 on a treadmill

The majority of protheses available today that replace the lower leg, ankle, and foot are passive devices that store energy in an elastic element (similar to a coiled spring) at the beginning of a step and release during push-off to give you some added boost. While this type of prosthetic is energy efficient, it doesn't replicate the full power we get from our muscles. In order to provide that kind of energy an actuator is required, and these are often heavy and bulky. Researchers at Belgium's Vrije Universiteit Brussel have streamlined the technology in a device they call the AMP-Foot (Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic Foot).  Read More

The prototype prosthetic finger

When South African craftsman Richard Van As lost most of the fingers from his right hand in an industrial accident, he decided to try and create a prosthetic finger to regain some of his lost mobility. In order to bring this about, Richard recruited the help of Washington State native Ivan Owen, after being impressed with the latter's mechanical hand prop which he had posted on YouTube. The result could be a boon to amputees everywhere.  Read More

The BioTac sensor can correctly identify a randomly selected material from a a sample of 1...

We’ve seen the development of a number of technologies that could be used to provide robots with a sense of touch, such as proximity and temperature sensing hexagonal plates and artificial skin constructed from semiconductor nanowires. However, perhaps none are as impressive as a tactile sensor developed by researchers at the University of California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. The group’s BioTac sensor was built to mimic a human fingertip and can outperform humans in identifying a wide range of materials, offering potential use for the technology in robotics and prostheses.  Read More

A simple concept, the Flex Leg props your injured leg for more natural movement (Photo: Fl...

Sometimes the most advanced innovations are rooted in the simplest questions. In this case, the question was, "If we can help a person with no legs to run, why can’t we help a person with an injured leg to walk?" The answer was the Flex Leg.  Read More

Test structure inserted into lab rats as part of the program to develop neural interfaces ...

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have announced a breakthrough in prosthetics that may one day allow artificial limbs to be controlled by their wearers as naturally as organic ones, as well as providing sensations of touch and feeling. The scientists have developed a new interface consisting of a porous, flexible, conductive, biocompatible material through which nerve fibers can grow and act as a sort of junction through which nerve impulses can pass to the prosthesis and data from the prosthesis back to the nerve. If this new interface is successful, it has the potential to one day allow nerves to be connected directly to artificial limbs.  Read More

A new discovery regarding a naturally-occurring lubricating layer on artificial hip joints...

For many people who have suffered from an arthritic hip, the replacement of their natural hip bone with a prosthetic implant has meant an end to constant pain, and the restoration of a normal range of movement. Unfortunately, the ball-and-socket joints of the prostheses do wear down over time, so younger patients in need of the implants are typically told to either wait until they are older, or must face the prospect of someday requiring repeat surgery to service their device. A recent discovery, however, could lead to longer-lasting artificial hip joints – this could in turn allow patients to receive prosthetic hips at a younger age, without the need for additional surgery when they get older.  Read More

Two iterations of the Vanderbilt intelligent prosthetic leg

It was not a good day for 16 year old Craig Hutto. On June 27, 2005, wading in crystal clear waters off a near-deserted beach 50 miles south of Panama City, Craig was attacked by an 8-foot bull shark and lost his right leg from above the knee. Today Hutto is a 6-foot 4-inch 23 year old studying Nursing at Middle Tennessee State. Fortunately for him, Nashville is also the home of Vanderbilt University where its Center for Intelligent Mechatronics has for seven years been developing an advanced prosthetic limb. They also happened to need a Lab Assistant to help them test it.  Read More

Harsha Agashe, a Ph.D. student in Contreras-Vidal's lab at UMD wears the Brain Cap, a non-...

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) continue to advance the development of their “brain cap” technology that allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. The team has already had success in using EEG brain signals captured from the cap’s 64 electrodes attached to users’ scalps to reconstruct 3D hand movements and to control a computer cursor with their thoughts, and now the team has successfully reconstructed the complex 3D-movements of the ankle, knee and hip joints during treadmill walking. The aim is to provide a non-invasive technology that can return motor function to victims of paralysis, injury or stroke.  Read More

Maj. Brian Egloff puts a sock on an 8-year-old Afghan boy to aid the fitting of the protot...

While we’ve covered many developments in the field of prosthetics, such high-tech advances are beyond the reach of those in the developing world where the rates of amputation due to war are highest. Now U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Afghanistan have developed a simple prototype prosthetic leg that can be constructed using local resources to allow the victims of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and land mines to get back on their feet quickly and cheaply.  Read More

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