Prosthetics That Tune Themselves While in UseEngineering360 News Desk | September 30, 2015
When amputees receive power-based prosthetic legs, the prosthetic limbs need to be tuned frequently.
North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill biomedical engineering researchers have developed software that allows the prosthetics to tune themselves automatically. Not only are the devices more functional, they are more cost-effective to use, the researchers say.
The researchers developed an algorithm that can be incorporated into the software of the prosthesis to tune the amount of power a prosthetic limb needs. As such, a user walks comfortably even when his or her condition changes, as it would occur with a weight gain or loss.
"For example, the algorithm could provide more power to a prosthesis when a patient carries a heavy suitcase through an airport," one researcher says.
The automatic-tuning algorithm tracks the angle of the prosthetic joint while the user is walking and adjusts the amount of power the prosthesis receives in real time to maintain the proper angle. Research and testing continues.