Human bi-pedal walking is nothing short of an engineering miracle. And running? Forget about it! Balance, the shifting of support from one part of the foot to another, and then to the other foot entirely: it’s all mind-bogglingly complex. And when people lose a leg due to injury or disease, it takes more than a fixed appendage to allow a walking gait. The engineers at BiOM have developed a bionic leg that produces astonishingly natural results. In the video linked to the picture above, you can watch a double-amputee run up a rocky hill in total control.
One key to the T2 System is the ankle-foot mechanism. According to the company website, this is the only commercially-available powered device. The power system takes over the parts played by tendons and calf muscles in a normal leg, adding a mechanical boost to stepping motions. As a result, patients wearing the prosthesis can climb stairs, walk on uneven terrain, and more. They are also able to walk using less energy, walk faster (or even run) than with other typical artificial legs, and walk with a more natural gait. There are even indications that the T2 System reduces musculoskeletal stress that may lead to osteoarthritis.
This is a case of a wearable Health Tech device become more intelligent than traditional designs. Better energy storage, smaller and smarter processing chips, and other components will help engineers create even better replacement parts for the human body.