Science

Artificial Ankle Recycles Energy, Restores Function

Posted 17 Feb 2010 at 15:43 UTC (updated 17 Feb 2010 at 17:07 UTC) by Rog-a-matic Share This

A microprocessor-controlled artificial foot can capture part of the energy normally dissipated during walking motion and recycle it to aid walking according to researchers at Delft University and University of Michigan. A conventional prosthesis can increase energy expenditure by 23% over healthy walking, but this new device can reduce that cost to 14% resulting in a much more natural walking style with much less effort. Energy is captured passively using a spring, then a pair of micromotors controlled by a microprocessor releases the energy at the optimum time, then resets the device for the next step. A small battery powers the active components.

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