Ann Conkle
Jan 23, 2012

VIDEO: Computerized prosthetic leg makes amputee faster on his feet

In 2005, Craig Hutto lost most of his right leg in a shark attack. Two years later, Hutto became the test pilot for a unique, new prosthetic leg being developed by mechanical engineer Michael Goldfarb and his team at Vanderbilt University. Recently, the team have designed a second version of the leg, which is computer controlled and has an advanced range of motion in the joints. "This is a battery that powers everything," explains Goldfarb, holding up the latest version and pointing to the various components. "You have a motor that drives the knee joint, another motor that drives the ankle joint. There is a whole computer board that essentially tells the motors what to do with the joints." The leg’s computer  “infers what the user is trying to do and works synergistically with the user to provide the torque at the right time," explains Goldfarb.