SPARKy Robotic Ankle Prosthesis (Runner-Up)

SPARKy (Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinematics) was hoping to be the first active and energy-storing transtibial (below-the-knee) prosthesis. SPARKy was developed at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. However, it appears to be a step or two behind the First Powered Robotic Ankle Prosthesis from MIT.


(SPARKy robotic ankle [Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinematics])

SPARKy captures the energy that is absorbed by the muscles and tendons of the ankle during the walk cycle.

"What we hope to create is a robotic tendon that actively stretches springs when the ankle rolls over the foot, thus allowing the springs to thrust or propel the artificial foot forward for the next step," said Thomas Sugar, ASU assistant professor of engineering. "Because energy is stored, a lightweight motor can be used to adjust the position of a uniquely tuned spring that provides most of the power required for gait. Thus, less energy is required from the individual."

A first-phase treadmill demonstration of SPARKy is expected this December; hopefully, the device will be able to support patients in their daily environment by 2009.

Also, see these related stories:

Read more at ScienceDaily.

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