Movement, balance, gait, walking speed, energy expenditure, and endurance all factor in lower limb prosthetics. We’ve previously covered a bionic leg that produces normal gait by controlling ankle-foot movement. Endolite‘s Linx goes further with a fully integrated lower limb in which the ankle, foot, and knee continuously signal each other.
Endolite has been making microprocessor-controlled prosthetics since it introduced a microprocessor knee in 1993. Linx structural components include a biomimetic hydraulic ankle that intelligently controls the dynamics of the limb’s foot springs. A lithium-ion battery powers the Linx and lasts for 3-4 days per charge. The Linx has four onboard microprocessors that work with sensors and actuators to control and adapt to various surfaces, inclines, speeds, and stiffness. Clinicians and users configure and control settings for the Linx in a smartphone app currently available for iOS only. The smartphone and Linx communicate via Bluetooth bidirectionally to control and provide real-time response.
Several major Linx features assist control and comfort. Situational Awareness assists or brakes appropriately for speed and ramp ascent and descent. Standing Lock locks the knee in various positions for secure weight distribution. Ramp Dynamics progressively adjusts knee and foot resistance for controlled ramp descent. Linx users have reported less effort, improved gait, reduced compensation, and reduced strain, according to the company. Other benefits reported include less hip power required, higher walking speed, and reduced lower back pain.