While most artificial feet and limbs do a pretty good job restoring mobility to people who have lost a leg, they said, there is still work to be done, witnessed by the fact that over half of amputees take a fall every year.
The secret to a natural walking gate lies in the ankle, the researchers at
Their prototype computerized artificial legs have pressure-sensitive sensors on the bottom of the foot that detect how the amputee is walking and then send signals to a microprocessor that adjusts the prosthesis to make walking more natural.
Mechanical engineering Professor
Microprocessor-controlled prostheses currently on the market can move an artificial foot in only one direction, toe up and toe down, which is fine if you are marking time on a treadmill, Rastgaar said.
"But in reality, we never walk in a straight line for any length of time," he said. "When you walk and reach an obstacle, you have to turn, and there's always something in our way."
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