LOCAL NEWS

The U unveils world’s most advanced bionic leg

Oct 5, 2022, 2:43 PM | Updated: 2:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A major announcement from the University of Utah Wednesday afternoon that could help people who have lost a leg walk freely again.

They’ve developed the Utah Bionic Leg.

Engineers announced they have partnered with the world’s largest prosthetic company Ottobock to make it accessible for all people.

“The largest prosthetics manufacturer in the world has committed to use the highest level of technologies available in robotics and AI to bring this prosthetic leg to those who need it as soon as possible,” said University of Utah mechanical engineering associate professor Tommaso Lenzi. He is the lead researcher on the Utah Bionic Leg project.

This is really a big step forward because engineers have been developing this technology for years.

The Utah Bionic leg is lightweight at six pounds – about half as much as a standard prosthesis.

What sets this prosthetic apart is that it uses motors, processors, and advanced artificial intelligence that all work together. It gives amputees more power to walk, stand up, sit down, and navigate stairs and ramps according to a news release. The extra power from the prosthesis makes these activities easier and less stressful for amputees, who normally need to over-use their upper body and intact leg to compensate for the lack of assistance from their prescribed prosthetics.

Researchers said it’s a game changer for amputees – particularly those who are elderly.

“On top of that, the Utah bionic leg can provide the same power as the human leg so people can walk naturally,” Lenzi said. “We need to bring this technology to people who need it and I can’t do this alone that’s why this partnership is so important.”

As part of this partnership, Ottobock will sponsor the university’s new engineering lab. It will officially be called Hans Georg Nader Laboratory or HGN Lab. Researchers will continue to do clinical trials on other future technologies in prosthetics.

Their goal is to get the Utah Bionic Leg on the market soon.

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The U unveils world’s most advanced bionic leg