Leave it to the brilliant minds at MIT's Biomechatronics Lab to crank out yet another bionic limb, as a newfangled mechanical foot / ankle combo is apparently on the minds of more than a few of its researchers. In a recent patent application, the team describes an "artificial foot and ankle joint" consisting of a "leaf spring foot member," flexible elastic ankle, and an actuator motor that applies force to the ankle. Aside from sporting a fairly intelligent system to improving one's gait, it also boasts a built-in safety feature that prevents foot rotation beyond a specified angle, and the internal sensors can also activate the motors at different intervals depending on the surface in which one is walking. The prosthetic feet join a horde of other bionic limbs and appendages meant to make life as an amputee a fair bit easier, and as terrific as this here invention sounds, we're betting the Olympic committee dashes your hopes of illegally obliterating a few running records by barring these from basic competitions.

[Via NewScientistTech]

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MIT gurus developing bionic feet / ankles