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Audio spot: Device helps amputees feel more comfortable with prosthetics

 

These special shoes include a device to study and monitor how amputees adjust to the prosthetics that allow them to walk again.These special shoes include a device to study and monitor how amputees adjust to the prosthetics that allow them to walk again. (hi-res image)

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 7, 2013 -- Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a device to study how amputees can adjust to prosthetics that allow them to walk again with as much comfort as possible while avoiding overuse injuries to other limbs.

The instrumentation would enhance the amputee’s ability to walk as normally as possible.

“What we’re trying to do is develop a system that allows us to measure and analyze their gait outside of a traditional gait lab setting,” said Ethan Farquhar of ORNL’s Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. “This gives a clinician access to the data that shows them walking in environments such as grassy terrain, roads, sidewalks – basically anything that they would run into in their normal lives.”

There are two ways to analyze the walking studies.

“One is a force measurement system that is connected to the bottom of the shoe,” Farquhar said. “It enables us to measure the ground reaction forces and also allows us to determine the angle and rotation of the foot. Our second system is a strap onto other various segments of the limb, including both thighs, the shin, definitely their good side and – if we can – we’ll attach one to their prosthetics side.”

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov http://science.energy.gov/


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