Off-road robotic legs arrive
Robotic orthopedic legs used to have the problem that it was difficult for them to adapt to uneven terrain. Researchers from Michigan Technological University have developed a robotic leg that can adapt to different terrains and surfaces.
The great improvement of these legs is in the ankle of them, which is controlled by a microprocessor and can be moved from side to side in addition to doing it, as they did until now, up and down. Mo Rastgaar, associate professor at that institution and one of those responsible for that research, stressed the importance of this new advance:
We never actually walked in a straight line for a long time. When you walk and reach an obstacle, you have to turn, and there is always something in the middle of the road. [The microprocessor and that new movement] provides active control of the assembly and improves safety and functionality. But the advantage is that it is biomimetic - it mimics biology - allowing a more natural pattern to walk, which should translate into a better way of walking and less falls.
A cable runs through that leg and reaches the control box located on top of the robotic leg. This allows this orthopedic member to feel lighter and more comfortable.
The prestigious Mayo Clinic will collaborate with this team from the summer of 2014 to improve the design of the orthopedic leg, which is expected to be useful for people who have had amputations of these limbs.