Outfitted with one of the Army's newly designed autoadaptive and flexible prosthetic limbs, Army Staff Sgt. Billy Costello, who lost his leg in combat, stretches and flexes his foot. (Source: Department of Defense)
I've seen stuff focusing on kinetic energy for charging batteries for cell phones and media players. I think the adaptation of this technology to these would be straight forward. Battery life should not be an issue. When I walk I charge.
Impressive and moving article. One section mentioned it can recharge while in use. I'm wondering if this means it connects to external power or if it can recapture some of the work energy and turn it back into electrical energy?
Interesting that one of the materials use is titanium, which apparently has superb properties for structural uses, but is also extremely expensive. For that reason, it's usually confined to military and some medical applications, like surgical instruments, as well as sports.
The article made me think of British WWII fighter pilot Douglas Bader (lost both legs before the war, but still was able to return to duty and become an ace 4 times over).
The article made me think of a common theme found here at Design News this past year, that of battery life. How long does a charge last for this brilliant prosthetics? Forget about our smartphone battery life; these are reason enough to dedicate research dollars into better power storage.
inevitably, at some point the battery in them will run out at a less than opportune time. I wonder if these brilliant prosthetics have some sort of "run flat" mode. Can they still be used without power? Maybe not as naturally and effortlessly, but I hope the user isn't left stranded.
The soldier shown in the video limps slightly, but his gait is far more natural than what you normally see with wearers of prosthetic limbs. I do wonder how similar this technology is to that of iWalk, a Massachusetts-based company that we've written about proviously. iWalk developed a powered ankle that offers an amazing improvement for prostheses wearers.
These prosthetic limbs have come a long way in my lifetime. I remember the Viet Nam vets coming how with prosthetic limbs. The vets I knew could hardly walk on their limbs given the pain the prosthetics caused.
Thanks for another fantastic article. Many service people are naturally athletic. It's good to see the medical prosthetics industry continuing to offer real quality of life for those who've lost limbs. Many civilians in the world, mostly children, who lose limbs to land mines could benefit from this also.
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