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Walk

A prototype of the Rapid Rehab insole

People who have received an artificial leg, had a hip replacement, or who are recovering from a broken leg all want to avoid one thing – developing a limp. Not only will it limit their mobility and increase the risk of falls, but it can also lead to problems such as osteoarthritis. That’s why University of Utah mechanical engineer Prof. Stacy Bamberg is developing the Rapid Rehab system – it’s a “smart” insole paired to a smartphone app, designed to provide users with feedback on how they walk.  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

A photorealistic rendering of Samsung's new humanoid robot, Roboray

Samsung's robotics division presented the company's latest humanoid robot, Roboray, at IROS 2012 in Portugal last week. Researchers led by Kyungsik Roh have been co-developing humanoid robots with the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) since 2004 and the Roboray is a departure from their earlier robot (known as "Mahru", of which there are several models) thanks to its torque controlled leg joints, which give it more human-like walking capabilities.  Read More

Thirty-five year old Chris Todd has attempted to “walk” across 106 kilometers (66 miles) o...

Thirty-five year old Chris Todd has attempted to “walk” across 106 kilometers (66 miles) of open sea in a giant hamster wheel-like raft dubbed Tredalo. Unfortunately, the plan to cross the Irish Sea – leaving from Wales and arriving on the east coast of Ireland in the South of Dublin – didn’t quite go to plan. Harsh weather conditions forced Todd to abort the mission after approximately eight and a half hours and 42 kilometers (26 miles) into the journey, when he encountered rudder problems.  Read More

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

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