Breakthrough is achieved with first mind-controlled prosthetic leg

09/25/2013 | NBC News · Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Credit: NBC News

Scientists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago have achieved a major milestone with their demonstration of a prosthetic knee and ankle that are controlled by nerves in the upper leg of the wearer, allowing the amputee "to seamlessly transition between walking along level ground and going up and down stairs and slopes," according to biomedical engineer Levi Hargrove at the institute. Robotic legs currently available combine computers with mechanical sensors that allow for improved gait, but don't do well in situations such as stair-climbing. The new mind-controlled leg prosthesis has software and electrodes that translate small electrical signals in the leg muscles into more intuitive natural movements.

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