How to Remove complexity in the bionic leg?

Robotic implants have an enormously complex operation, since everything has to operate precisely. This bionic leg tries to amend it.

The field of artificial limbs has developed intensely in recent years. The robotic arms and legs are still objects with a very high price, but little by little they get cheaper. The technological components that form them reduce their price and connectivity techniques improve.

The records that marked milestones a few years ago – such as climbing a 103-story skyscraper with a bionic leg – are now increasingly achievable goals. Many factors influence it. The complexity of a bionic leg is enormous. That is why the work out of the Bionic Engineering Lab at the University of Utath has focused on another approach.

There they have created another type of bionic leg that works with artificial intelligence. To understand what this new device means, you have to know the different types of prostheses there are. The most basic is a passive type member. In this case it is mostly an aesthetic restoration accompanied by structural functions. For one leg, for example, it will fulfill the task of supporting the weight.

On a second level are prostheses with electronic components. With them you gain some mobility. And, on the last level, there would be the robotic members. These normally connect with your muscles to act in coordination with them. Through sensors, you may even manually give orders to the bionic member.

Increasingly sophisticated artificial limbs

However, in the Bionic Engineering Lab of the University of Utath, another approach has been chosen to create a robotic leg. His proposal is an autonomous member, that is, guided by artificial intelligence.

The first thing they have done has been to modify the weight so that the member is lighter. It actually weighs about half that of other robotic legs. The following has been to provide it with an artificial intelligence that allows it to predict what movements its user will make. This way you can anticipate them and adapt.

Obviously this requires training. Investigators work with Alec McMorris, who suffered the aiming of one of his legs after an accident and needs an implant. The idea is that with use, the system gets used to predicting movements and adapting. For this you will also need the help of the scientists, who make the pertinent corrections.

Images: University of Utah

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