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Energy-recycling foot makes it easier for amputees to walk

Darren Murph

What's better than an artificial nose? Why, an artificial foot, of course! University of Michigan researchers have developed a new prosthetic foot that could one day make it much easier for amputees to walk. Put simply, this new prototype drastically cuts the energy spent per step, as it harnesses the energy exerted when taking a step and enhances the power of ankle push-off. The device is able to capture dissipated energy, and an inbuilt microcontroller tells the foot to return the energy to the system at precisely the right time. Tests have shown that those using this here foot spent just 14 percent more energy to walk than one would spend when walking naturally, which is a rather significant decrease from the 23 percent uptick experienced with conventional prostheses. If you're still baffled, there's a pretty wicked video demonstration waiting for you after the break.

Gallery: Energy-recycling foot makes it easier for amputees to walk | 3 Photos

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