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Meet The World’s First “Smart” Ankle

A newly developed prosthetic ankle might just make rough terrain and stairs more accessible to amputees.

The ankle, created by Vanderbilt University professor Michael Goldfarb, actively moves with the user. Prosthetics available on the market today are static, meaning they don’t anticipate movement or changes in terrain.
For amputees using prosthetics, walking often means having to swing the leg outward to make up for the lack of a naturally rolling motion. According to Mike Sasser, a prosthetics tester, Goldfarb’s "smart" ankle changes that.
“I’ve tried hydraulic ankles that had no sort of microprocessors, and they’ve been clunky, heavy and unforgiving for an active person. This isn’t that. It actually lifts the toe for you. There’s a definite market for this.”
A motor, actuator, sensors, and a chip all work together to either remain stationary or conform to the user’s walking surface. This also means that people using the prosthetic could wear any shoe of their choosing––not just one that works with their static prosthetic.
The development team plans to commercialize the ankle within a couple of years.
Do you know someone who could benefit from this tech? Let us know in the comments!

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