Designing successful prosthetic legs

Fit and alignment are the keys to making prosthesis wearers achieve a proper gait. And gathering good data is the key to getting the alignment right. This video looks at how designers measure the complex forces and moments in a human stride.

For the first time in the 3000 year history of prosthetics, researchers are able to objectively evaluate what the prosthesis user feels when wearing a prosthetic device. This is made possible by College Park’s iPecs (Intelligent Prosthetic Endo-Skeletal Component System), the world’s first wireless transducer, specifically designed for measuring amputee gait.

It’s the only device that measures forces, movements and acceleration when mounted within the prosthesis, allowing researchers to collect data wirelessly while people perform everyday activities. This new data allows researchers to make adjustments that delivers the gait alignment and range of motion similar to those with no prosthetics.

Because of these advances in prosthetic product design, Paralympic athletes are achieving more than ever thought possible. For example, Paralympic Game 2012 athlete Matt Brown is throwing Discus for Team USA wearing the College Park Soleus foot. And Japan’s Paralympian Maya Nakanishi will be competing in track & field on the Soleus foot.

Just as unique as the device, is the method in which it was developed. New design (CAD) tools allowed users, researchers and engineers to collaborate in a different way. Where CAD used to be an “engineering-only” environment, PTC CAD software allowed people with no engineering background to leverage powerful, technical engineering design capabilities through simple and intuitive user interfaces. This opened the door to a new type of collaboration and innovation where the results were, simply put, life-changing.