Photos: High-tech prosthetics

Photos: High-tech prosthetics

Summary: Prosthetics have evolved from devices that use simple mechanics to complex, computerized machines that respond to sensors attached to the body.

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TOPICS: Processors
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  • Rheo Knee

    Computer technology is increasingly finding its way into prosthetics.

    Within two steps sensors in the Rheo Knee, shown here, calculate walking speed, judge the terrain and start compensating for potential problems. Another Ossur product, the Power Knee, uses a sensor placed on an amputee's natural leg that allows it to make speed and terrain calculations in half a step. The sensor communicates with the prosthetic via wireless Bluetooth technology.

    The Rheo Knee is a lighter prosthetic, with relatively long battery life, making it suitable for patients who are relatively active or who don't need the added power of a motor. The Power Knee weighs about as much as a human leg, while the Rheo knee weighs less at about 3.6 pounds.

    Ossur says its products produce roughly 70 percent to 85 percent of the functionality of a normal limb. The Rheo Knee costs some $35,000 to $40,000, while the Power Knee costs as much as $100,000. A basic mechanical leg, including customization and fitting, can cost up to $25,000.

  • Ossur Cheetah Flex-Foot

    Inspired by the shape of a cheetah's rear leg, the Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic sprinting foot allows runners to gain a little extra altitude. Made of carbon fiber, the foot was designed by Van Phillips, engineered by Hilary Pouchak and manufactured by Ossur North America. The runner pictured here is Marlon Shirley.

  • Ossur GII 3DX ligament brace

    The Ossur GII 3DX ligament brace.

Topic: Processors

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