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Prosthetic Leg ★ Bionic Leg 2013 - Leg Prosthesis Makes Amputee Faster on his Feet - Science Nation

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A shark attack survivor now knows what it feels like to be part bionic man. 23-year-old amputee Craig Hutto has volunteered to play guinea pig, testing a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg with powered knee and ankle joints. 

 

 

Leg Prosthesis
With early support from the National Science Foundation and continued support from the National Institutes of Health, Vanderbilt University mechanical engineer Michael Goldfarb has spent several years developing the leg, which operates with special sensors, an electric motor, a battery and computer technology. 

 

Artificial Limbs
Sensors monitor the user’s motion and microprocessors figure out what the person is trying to do. Goldfarb says the powered leg reduces the lag time between a real leg and a prosthetic one.  Hutto confirms that the powered prosthetic is much better at anticipating his next move.

 

Transcript
you might say craig hutto is part bionic man
in 2005 doctors amputated his leg above the knee after a shark attacked him
along the florida gulf coast
i was sixteen years old and
when my brother heard me yell what was that
and saw something take me under he saw the
the back fin of the shark i mean it was just so much tissue damage and so much flesh gone
that it was just irreparable
2 years later and game for a challenge hutto became
the first test pilot for unique and powerful new prosthetic leg
developed by mechanical engineer
michael goldfarb and his team at
vanderbilt university
the effort was kick started by a grant
from the national science foundation
we were able to develop a early prototype
that demonstrated that you could have leg
that with light enough and could deliver
by mechanical levels of torque and power
version one dot 0 evolved into a more streamlined two dot 0
computer-controlled with advanced range
of motion in the joints
this is a battery that powers everything
uh… you have a uh…
motor here that uh… drives the knee joint
motor here that drives the ankle joint this is
the whole computer board that
essentially tells the motor what to do
with the joints
it has the computing
capability on board to work
synergistically with the user to provide
the torque at the right time
it’s designed to responded to cues from the
wearer
right before i go to stair accent
i kind of kick my thigh back just a
little bit and just that little movement
tells it
hey you’re about to walk up stairs
to reduce the risk of injury goldfarbs
team has intentionally programmed a
slight delay into the legs computer
hutto confirms it takes less effort to
walk compared to the prosthetic
he wears on a daily basis
with my leg
it is harder because
it’s always a step behind me
goldfarb says after years of work they
have sold their technology to a major
prosthetic manufacturer
we will know in the next few years
if these are going to really gain a lot of traction in the market
and hutto who is now studying to be a nurse
is looking forward to one day soon
walking tall on a bionic leg that he
helped make a reality
for science nation im miles obrien

 

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Updated: May 22 2014

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