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THE CONTROLLABLE PROSTHETIC LEG

An innovative new system has been developed to give patients full control over a prosthetic leg. The limb acts and feels just like the real thing.

As long ago as 2003, the Biomechanical Engineering department developed a prosthetic lower leg which could mimic the natural gait. It was the world's first prosthetic which raises the body onto the front part of the foot very slightly on each step. The leg supports the body in a very natural walking movement.

The first version of the prosthetic limb did not however have a control system to allow the user to influence the precise type of movement. After all, the movements involved in standing and sitting, using stairs or walking at various speeds are very different. The researchers are now working on just such a system.

The project focuses on the development of lightweight, cost-effective components, the control system itself and the required portable energy supply. Not only must the user be able to control the prosthesis, he must also be able to derive information from it. In short, the limb must work and feel just like the real thing.