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By 17 July 2018 | Categories: news

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Admittedly, no one wants to face the possibility of losing a limb, but should it come to pass, it should be reassuring that the advances being made in prosthetics are incredible.

Just recently, it was announced that a new, smart prosthetic ankle has taken one step forward to becoming a commercial reality. Developed at engineering school Vanderbilt University in the US, the prosthetic ankle makes it possible for amputees to walk naturally, as the ankle adjusts to changes in terrain.

The smart ankle, which emerged from the National Science Foundation’s National Innovation Corps programme at Vanderbilt University’s new I-Corps site, also enables its users who have lost a foot to enjoy a more natural stride, largely indistinguishable from those with an organic (flesh and bone) ankle joint.  

Even more significantly, it enables amputees to navigate stairs more easily. The smart/robotic ankle does this with an actuator built into it, to stimulate human muscles, which contract and lengthen when climbing up a slope or stairs.

Even as there is no word as yet as to how much the prosthesis will cost or when it will become largely available, it does make the case that robotic enhancements are quickly becoming a reality. Take a look at the video below to see the robotic ankle in action.   

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