Bionic Ankle Works Better Than The Real Thing
Prosthetic emulates nature to restore natural gait, balance, and speed.
Hugh Herr, an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, has been designing prosthetic legs for more than 20 years, the latest of which is a bionic ankle that outperforms conventional technology in almost every way. The customizable prosthesis not only lowers joint stress and the time it takes to acclimatize, but also restores natural gait, balance, and speed.
Battery-powered “bionic propulsion,” two microprocessors and six environmental sensors work together to adjust ankle stiffness, power, position, and damping thousands of times per second. This system operates at two key points during a person’s stride; once when the heel strikes the ground, controlling the ankle’s stiffness to absorb shock and thrust the tibia forward, and then again when power is needed to propel a wearer up and forward.