DoD Announces bionic lower leg system that replaces lost muscle function
FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS (Nov. 17, 2010) - Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) will host a press conference at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI) at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18 to demonstrate the PowerFoot BiOM by iWalk, a bionic lower leg system to restore lost muscle function of the lower limb in service members.
The bionic technology system actually replaces the action of the foot, ankle and calf muscles that work together to propel individuals forward while walking. While a traditional prosthesis can store energy and then return it, the bionic lower leg system actually produces energy.
"Promising results indicate the bionic lower leg system is able to match the intact human limb, allowing for greater walking efficiency and reduced stress on the rest of the body," said Dr. Jason Wilken PT, PhD, and Director of the Military Performance Laboratory at the CFI.
"This could mean a great reduction in energy expenditure throughout the day and normalization of the motion and forces experienced by the lower limb," he said. "These changes may preserve the sound side over the amputees' lifetime."
Preliminary results from initial patient testing show that when a unilateral below the knee amputee is walking at comfortable speeds using the prosthesis, the powered ankle matches the function of the uninjured side.
Featured press conference guest speakers will include Dr. James Ficke, BAMC's Chief of Orthopedic and Rehabilitation; Wilken; John Fergason CPO, Chief of Prosthetics along with a demonstration by wounded Warriors.
Since funding for prosthetic research started to increased as a result of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bionic lower leg system is the first clinically available prosthetic technology that is actually clinically proven to do what the patient says they are feeling, which is to restore lost muscle function.
Funding for the leg was provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), and the innovation of the MIT Biomechotronics lab.
Media interested in covering this event should arrive at the Binz Engleman off I-35 at 8:00 a.m. to be escorted to the conference.