Prof. Mo Rastgaar (left) and PhD student Evandro Ficanha, with the leg and its testing rig
So far, lab tests have shown that the leg is "able to copy the angles of a human ankle walking in a straight line and turning"
Although computer-controlled artificial legs have been around for a few years now, they generally still feature an ankle joint that only allows the foot to tilt along a toe-up/toe-down axis. That's fine for walking in a straight line, but what happens when users want to turn a corner, or walk over uneven terrain? Well, in some cases, they end up falling down. That's why researchers at Michigan Technological University are now developing a microprocessor-controlled leg with an ankle that also lets the foot roll from side to side.
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