ISRO Develops An Intelligent Artificial Limb Likely to Be Commercialised Soon

Indian Space agency ISRO has just announced that it has developed a spin-off intelligent artificial limb for above-knee amputees to walk with a comfortable gait. A 1.6 kg Microprocessor-controlled knee(MPK) enabled an amputee to walk ~100 m in a corridor with little support.

These microprocessor-controlled knees (MPKs) consists of a microprocessor, hydraulic damper, load & knee angle sensors, composite knee-case, Li-ion battery, electrical harness, and interface elements. The microprocessor detects the state of gait based on the sensor data. The control software estimates the real-time damping needed to attain the desired gait by changing the stiffness of the system that is achieved by a hydraulic damper operated by a DC motor

ISRO is incorporating more intelligence into the system to help the amputee walk through uneven terrains with advanced features for more comfort.

Walking parameters specific to amputees can be set using PC-based software to improve one’s comfort. The interface plots the parameters in real time during walking.

The device was tested with an amputee, identified by NILD for conducting walking trials.

Walking trials with an amputee

Initial walking trials were conducted with the support of parallel bars. Subsequently, the amputee could walk about 100 m in the corridor with minimum support.

These MPKs being developed, once commercialised, are expected to cost around Rs. 4 Lakh to Rs. 5 Lakh.

Notably, similar device for amputees currently available commercially in India are imported and range from Rs. 10 Lakh to Rs. 60 Lakhs, depending on the complexity and functionality.

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