In order for prosthetics to truly allow amputees to regain their freedom of movement, they need to be lightweight, mimic the natural mechanics of human legs, and need self-powered, so they don’t need cables, according to foreign media New Atlas. Researchers at the University of Utah, which has been working to achieve these goals, are now showing what they call one of the world’s first truly bionic legs, described by early testers as a Terminator-like experience.
The prosthesis was developed by a mechanical engineering team led by Assistant Professor Tommaso Lenzi, who set out to develop tools for elderly amputees. This means that the prosthesis is designed not only to help them regain mobility, but also to be lightweight and to reduce stress in other parts of the body as they move.
Lenzi and his team achievethis by integrating accelerometers, gyroscopes, motor and torque sensors, and computer processors into titanium and aluminum prostheses weighing about 6 pounds (2.7 kg). With the help of artificial intelligence, this array of sensors allows the legs to identify their position in the environment, while dynamically adjusting to match the user’s walking pace, speed and pace.
It does this by connecting the electric motor to an artificial joint, and the researchers attribute the efficiency of the transmission system to the ability of the prosthesis to dynamically adjust its power distribution to match user activity.
“If you go fast, it will give you faster and give you more energy,” says Lenzi. Or it will automatically adapt to the height of the steps. It can also help you overcome obstacles. “
The researchers invited 10 participants to try out their prosthetic “Utah Bionic Leg.” One of them, Kerry Finn, a retired truck driver, lost a leg to vascular disease. In a lab at the University of Utah, this allowed him to walk two steps at a time and put less pressure on his limbs than a regular prosthesis.
“If you’ve ever seen Terminator, that’s what it looks like,” says Finn. It makes me feel like I can do things I couldn’t do before. Every time I take a step, it feels like a great feeling. “
The team hopes to continue to help improve leg movement, including how to track muscle movement in the limbs, so as to predict the movement of users in advance, a long-term goal in the field of research.
“The ability to walk is critical to your life and to be able to do whatever you want. It’s painful to stand up, and walking means fear of falling, which can lead you to be stuck at home because you don’t want to move on. Lenzi said. “These bionic products will be for everyone, not just young and efficient people. “