IIT-D scholars patent prosthetic limb guided by good leg

Two young scientists from IIT-Delhi have received a provisional patent for the prototype of a prosthetic limb that will enable amputees to walk "without having to drag their leg".

Deepak Joshi and Ramandeep Singh, research scholars at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering in IIT-Delhi, have developed a control strategy for speed adaptive walking in an above-knee prosthesis. With the use of a transmitter, people who have received below-knee amputations will be able to walk with ease and without disturbing their gait as the prosthetic leg would mimic the action of the good leg.

"To control the prosthetic limb, two variables were measured, namely, knee angle and the walking speed. Knee angle (how much the knee bends) of the normal limb was measured by using a potentiometer fitted with the micro-controller," Singh said.

A heel switch placed at the shoe of the normal limb identifies the walking speed, converts it to an algorithm and transmits it to through wireless module to the prosthetic limb. "The radio frequency (RF) wireless transmission is used to transfer the data from normal limb to prosthetic limb," Singh said.

He said the algorithm has been successfully implemented in a prototype. It consists of three parts: knee joint, leg and foot. A stepper motor is incorporated with the knee joint itself. As the stepper motor receives the signal from the circuit, it rotates the knee joint.

The patent has been filed by Foundation of Innovation and Technology Transfer (IIT-Delhi) and complete provisional specifications were received on February 13.

The two research scholars have been mentored by Professor Sneh Anand from IIT-Delhi and Dr U Singh from the All India Institute for Medical Sciences. The Centre for Biomedical Engineering, set up in 1971, is a joint venture of the two institutes.

"The project is unique not only in its application, but also in its hardware and software design," Prof Anand, who heads the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, said.

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