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This biologically accurate set of robotic legs comprises simplified versions of the human ...

Moving forwards on two legs is one thing, walking with a recognizably human gait is quite another. While most humanoids have mastered the former, the latter is beyond the reach of most bipedal robots (though some are doing a good job at it) ... and there is a good reason for that. Recreating the way humans walk takes recreating the entire walking apparatus, complete with the skeletal, muscular and neural systems. That’s exactly what a group of researchers from the University of Arizona have done, creating what is reportedly the most biologically accurate set of robotic legs to ever walk the planet.  Read More

Fraunhofer's experimental new artificial hip (right)

While modern artificial hips are made of a number of high-tech materials, metal is still often the material of choice for younger, more active patients. This is due mainly to the fact that it’s so robust. Unfortunately, however, difficulties can arise in the metal ball-and-socket interface – where the artificial head of the femur meets the artificial socket of the pelvis – if things aren't perfectly aligned. In particular, the metal surfaces can wear against one another, decreasing the longevity of the implant and potentially causing health problems in the patient. Now, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation are developing a new type of heavy-duty artificial hip, that contains no metal at all.  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

Swiss Protection Socks are socks that can be worn like shoes

Swiss Protection Socks from Swiss Barefoot put a whole new spin on the barefoot movement. These are essentially big, burly socks that are designed to be worn not inside shoes, but instead of them. The manufacturer claims that the socks are hefty enough to protect your feet from the pain and dangers of walking completely barefoot.  Read More

SideStix are 'sports crutches,' designed for active users

Thirty-eight years ago, a drunk driver hit teenager Sarah Doherty while she was riding her bicycle. She lost her right leg in the accident. An avid athlete, she continued to participate in sports after her recovery, became an occupational therapist, and began adapting rock climbing gear for her own use. That ultimately led to her and her partner Kerith Perreur-Lloyd inventing SideStix, which are forearm crutches designed for active users - like Sarah.  Read More

A new in-shoe device is designed to harvest the energy that is created by walking, and sto...

Although you may not be using a Get Smart-style shoe phone anytime soon, it is possible that your mobile phone may end up receiving its power from your shoes. University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering researchers Tom Krupenkin and J. Ashley Taylor have developed an in-shoe system that harvests the energy generated by walking. Currently, this energy is lost as heat. With their technology, however, they claim that up to 20 watts of electricity could be generated, and stored in an incorporated rechargeable battery.  Read More

The Supercollar is a dog collar with a built-in retractable leash(Photo: Bright IP Concept...

The humble dog collar might seem like something that couldn't really be improved upon in any significant way, but ... what if you combined it with a leash? Well, what you'd end up with is the Supercollar. It's a polypropylene collar, with a three-foot (0.9-meter) retractable leash built into it. Perhaps not necessary in all situations, but there a few where it might come in handy.  Read More

ForceShoes enable extremely precise tracking of how their wearer walks (Photo: University ...

There may not be many people interested in the precise measurement of all the forces and movements that are at play as someone walks, but for those few, a new tool has been developed to help them carry out their research - ForceShoes. Developed by researchers at the University of Twente's MIRA research institute in The Netherlands, these modest-looking sandals feature high-tech data-gathering electronics.  Read More

University students have created a system for building balance skills in physically challe...

Can killing monsters help physically-challenged children learn to walk? It can if they’re virtual monsters, that are part of a balance-developing system created by engineering and computer game design students from Houston’s Rice University. Called the Equiliberator, the system consists of five linked Wii Balance Boards with two pressure-sensitive hand rails running along either side, all of which are linked by Bluetooth to a PC running a custom-designed video game. Children using the setup are able to kill on-screen monsters, by successfully performing exercises that build their balance skills.  Read More

GeoPalz are pedometers for children, that are linked to a website where users can claim pr...

As children get chubbier and chubbier, finding ways of motivating them to exercise becomes more and more important. Rich and Sheri Schmelzer and Alexandra O'Leary have taken the approach of creating their GeoPalz pedometers, that record how far children walk, so they can then redeem their miles for free prizes and awards on the company’s website. As anyone who spent their childhood proudly working their way up the YM/YWCA’s hierarchy of sew-on swimming crests will tell you ... it’s not a bad idea.  Read More

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