Scientists Say Bionic Feet Need More Spring in Their StepBy Rehab Management: Rehab Today,
Publication Date: May 5, 2008
News feature on the role of ankle movement in the development of a bionic foot. A Michigan University study of a bionic foot revealed that during walking, the ankle does about 3 times the work for the same amount of energy compared to isolated muscles. As part of the study, healthy participants wore a bionic ankle equipped with fake muscles mimicking real muscle activity and attached to the nervous system by electrodes. The amount of oxygen consumed was measured and compared when walking with or without the boot; as muscles use oxygen when they burn fuel, the more oxygen used, the more energy expended. Based on the study, researchers said that manufacturers should rethink prosthesis design to make the ankle part do more of the work. They said the study also sheds light on why rehabilitation and mobility are so exhausting for amputees and people with neurologic disorders, who do not have the “bounce” of the stored energy in the ankle.
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Link to text: http://www.rehabpub.com/rmn/2008-05-05_07.asp