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LEDE: Lower-limb amputees may soon be able to avoid a common cause of stumbling or falling with a newly-engineered “smart ankle.”
Randy Atkins: For many leg amputees, prosthetics can’t always smoothly adjust from one terrain to another, like stepping from pavement to a sandy beach. This can cause them to fall. So Panos Artemiadis, an engineer at Arizona State University, is developing a “smart ankle” that would read the amputee’s muscle signals as they anticipate change, and sense new surfaces.
Panagiotis Artemiadis: The prosthesis is equipped with four sensors that will measure exactly the force interactions between the foot and the surface and it will adapt its motion and will adapt adapt to the stiffness.
Randy Atkins: The battery-powered ankle could be charged as the person sleeps.
Panagiotis Artemiadis: We can improve dramatically the quality of life for lower limb amputees because they will be able to safely walk on different environments.
Randy Atkins: Artemiadis says tests on amputees could start next year. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.