AMP-Foot 2.0 Prosthesis Gives the Power of Real Feet, Keeps a Light Step
Posted November 01, 2012 9:55 AM
It was five years ago that prosthetics took a very literal step forward when Arizona State University's SPARKy
foot offered a more natural walk, capturing the inherent kinetic energy
that previously needed a big motor to replicate. Belgium's Vrije
Universiteit Brussel may well carry the torch for the next wave of artificial limbs.
Its second-generation Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic Foot (AMP-Foot 2.0)
uses a pair of force sensors to determine the leg's relative position
and let an actuator build energy when the foot bends, locking the power
away to use only when the owner pushes off. The efficiency produces all
the torque needed to let a 165-pound person walk, but with just a 30W to
60W motor versus SPARKy's 150W -- a big help to battery life that also
reduces the AMP-Foot 2.0's weight to that of the fleshy kind. We don't
know how likely it is the Belgian prosthesis goes beyond the prototype
phase; if we had our way, it would move just as quickly as future
wearers undoubtedly will.