Power Knee motorized prosthetic officially available in US, Europe -- race of cyborgs still in infancy

We reported on Ossur's robotic prosthetic back in 2009, and now amputees in Europe and the United States have become the first official recipients of the Power Knee. According to the company, "the world's first and only motor-powered prosthetic knee" was recently approved for reimbursement by the German National Health System, covered by private insurance in France and the UK, and picked up by select healthcare providers in the US. Power Knee combines "artificial intelligence," motion sensors, and wireless communication to learn and adjust to the walking style of its users -- that's one small step for real-life cyborgs and one giant leap for prosthetic technology.

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Amputees Receive Ossur's New POWER KNEE(TM), the World's First Motorized Prosthetic Knee -- Company Marks Significant Commercialization Milestone

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND -- Lower-limb amputees in Europe and the U.S. are among the first to receive the new POWER KNEE, the world's first and only motor-powered prosthetic knee, it was announced today by Össur, a recognized global leader in prosthetic and orthopaedic innovations.

"For four decades, Össur has been developing innovations to help people enjoy lives without limitations," said Jon Sigurdsson, president and CEO. "The new POWER KNEE is the latest extension of Össur's unrivaled Bionic Technology platform, which also includes the industry-leading RHEO KNEE® and PROPRIO FOOT® prostheses."

Össur recently marked a significant milestone in POWER KNEE's commercialization process, with the first reimbursement by the German National Health System, and the first private insurance coverage for POWER KNEE amputees in France and the UK. In the U.S., a select number of prosthetic practices and healthcare institutions also have been certified as POWER KNEE providers.

Conventional prostheses require an amputee to consciously move them by directly engaging the anatomical structures of their remaining limb. In comparison, POWER KNEE is the first prosthetic knee designed to function as an integrated extension of its user, using battery-powered capabilities to address the lost muscle capability and asymmetrical movement often found in people with limb loss.

Like all of Össur's advanced Bionic prostheses, POWER KNEE is a "smart" prosthetic limb. Its integrated artificial intelligence (AI) systems, sophisticated motion sensors and wireless communications capabilities enable POWER KNEE to "learn" its user's walking style and automatically make real-time adjustments based on changes in speed, stride, or terrain. POWER KNEE's early users report that they have been able to conserve energy, more confidently negotiate obstacles and inclines, and cover greater distances than they previously could.