20-year-old student at northwestern University, Chicago Hayley Danowitz lost part of the leg, including the knee and ankle, in 2005, a result of bone cancer. But now, thanks to modern technology, she can get a bionic leg – a robotic prosthesis that is controlled by its own muscle and nerve endings, writes Reuters.
The development of the prosthesis does Dr. Levi Hargrove, research fellow, rehabilitation Institute of Chicago center for bionic medicine. In conversation with journalists he confirmed that we are talking about “integration mechanism in the human body”.
In the tests performed with the support of the US army, uses the principle of electromyography. This is a special type of study neurogenic mechanisms that control the muscles, where the electrical signals sent by muscles that are recognized by the computer to control robotic prostheses.
Electrodes attached to nine different muscles of the thigh act as antennas, collecting electric signals from the nerves to the muscles. These signals are triggered in a certain pattern depending on how the person intends to move.
Thus one can control the bionic leg, just making small movements with the muscles of the hips. Bionic prosthesis will give the disabled a new degree of freedom, especially considering that until now, most prostheses are passive.
“They are better than the “wooden leg”, but a disabled person is forced to sway from side to side to get the leg to move,” says Michael Goldfarb, a mechanical engineer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
According to him, this is particularly important given that currently, there are about 2 million people with amputated legs and it is expected that by 2050 that number will double in connection with the increase in patients with diabetes.