Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Previously, only mind-controlled bionic arms were available

In what is being heralded as "a groundbreaking development," by lead author Levi Hargrove, a biomedical engineer and research scientist at RIC, the first successful trials of a bionic leg have proved successful. Test subject 32-year-old Zac Vawter, having lost his lower right leg in a motorcycle accident years ago, has been fitted with an artificial limb that uses neur-osignals from his upper leg muscles to control the prosthetic knee and ankle.

The new prosthesis allows a normal, smooth gait no matter the incline, quite unlike the previous robotic models currently on the market.

The new prosthesis allows a normal, smooth gait no matter the incline, quite unlike the previous robotic models currently on the market.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Bionic, leg, limbs, Zac Vawter, breakthrough


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The limb is the first thought-controlled bionic leg. "It allows people to seamlessly transition between walking along level ground and going up and down stairs and slopes," Hargrove says.

According to scientists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, only thought-controlled bionic arms have been available to amputees.

Vawter, fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg, climbed the 103 flights to the top of Willis Tower in Chicago in October of last year.

When Vawter thinks he wants to move his leg, the brain signal travels down his spinal cord and through peripheral nerves. This is then picked up by electrodes in the bionic leg.

The prosthesis allows a normal, smooth gait no matter the incline, quite unlike the previous robotic models currently on the market. The cost of the limb has not yet been determined - but a version could be available to the more than one million Americans with leg amputations within three to five years. 

"It makes a phenomenal difference," Vawter says, a software engineer from Yelm, Washington. Becoming aware of the institute's work on bionic arms, Vawter and his surgeon contacted Hargrove and the team developing the prosthesis. Vawter would travel to the institute periodically over the next few years.

Vawter would remove his mechanical leg, slip into the bionic one, and run through a set of experiments the scientists devised. After multiple revisions to the leg's software and two major revisions to the leg's mechanics, Vawter says he can walk up and down stairs the way prior to the amputation.

"My sound leg goes up every step first, and I'm just dragging the prosthetic leg along behind me." But with the bionic leg, "I go leg over leg," he says. "The bionic leg listens to the various signals from my nerves and responds in a much more natural way."

The thought-controlled bionic leg is highly sophisticated. In additional to mechanical sensors, it has two motors, complex software, and a set of electrodes - essentially antennae - in its socket that pick up the tiny electrical signals that muscles in the upper leg generate when they contract.

In the process, two electrodes pick up signals from the hamstring muscle, where the nerves that had run through Vawter's lower leg were redirected during the amputation. "So when Zac is thinking about moving his ankle, his hamstring contracts," Hargrove says.

Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Health

World's first malaria vaccine wins approval from European drug regulators Watch

Image of Mosquirix must first win agreement from African governments as the vaccine only offers only partial protection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world's first malaria vaccine is a go with European drug regulators after it was recommended safe and effective for babies at risk of the 'mosquito-born disease' in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called Mosquirix, the vaccine was developed by ... continue reading


560-pound man sets out to bike across the U.S. to lose weight and save his marriage Watch

Image of [Photo by: ABC News]

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To try to live a healthy life, get a job and save his failing marriage, a 560-pound man decided to embark on a biking journey across the United States. He has already traveled about 90 miles since he started last month and has lost around 60 pounds during the first two ... continue reading


Catholic organization's approach to female reproductive health a 'game changer' Watch

Image of Together with his colleagues, Dr. Thomas Hilgers developed NaPro (Natural Procreative) Technology. In Omaha in 1985, they founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, and in 1999 formally created the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.

By Gabrielle Cubera, CNA EWTN News

With the hope of providing authentic and ethical health care for women, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, creator of Natural Procreative Technology, has worked for decades to establish a medical network that studies, understands, and treats the female fertility cycle. Omaha, ... continue reading


Have scientists found the key to shut off aging? New study with worms finds success Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have uncovered how to switch off the aging process, during a recent study with worms, which could possibly lead to the process being successful in humans. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The new study showed that adult cells of worms shortly ... continue reading


New eye drops may soon replace cataract surgery Watch

Image of Vision could cease altogether if cataracts remain untreated. Cataracts cause more blindness worldwide than any other eye condition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inexpensive and easy to administer, a new eye drop may soon make cataract removal surgery obsolete. A frequent bane of existence that afflicts the elderly, the new drops dissolves the clumps of protein that clouds vision. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cataract ... continue reading


Superhero DNA desired by pharmaceutical researchers for new drugs Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have the ability to fly or come with laser eyes, but there are people who exist today with the "superhero" genes. Similar to the figures portrayed in media, these people have ordinary lives with extraordinary physical abilities because of uncommon biological ... continue reading


Controversial Dr. Death and his 'Destiny machine' set out to help assist the suicide of an entire volunteer audience Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Controversial medic known as Dr. Death will try to gas a volunteer audience at the Edinburg Fringe show, which he hosts, with his updated "right-to-die machine" to showcase "a peaceful and reliable means of death." According to reports, he will invite people from the ... continue reading


Human contact with armadillos blamed for surge in leprosy cases in Florida Watch

Image of Floridians are being advised to use caution and not touch the small, cat-sized creatures.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Increased human contact with armadillos is being blamed for an increase in leprosy cases in Florida. The state usually sees two to 12 cases of leprosy a year. There have been nine cases in 2015 alone, which is higher than average, according to the Florida ... continue reading


4 common reasons for weight-loss failure Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most of us have tried a lot of different diets in pursuit of a healthier body but for some reason most attempts don't work the way we wanted or expected them to. According to Dr. Sally Norton, a weight loss expert, we have to reconsider our entire lifestyle in order ... continue reading


Man lives with hand attached to ankle while waiting for reattachment surgery Watch

Image of A Chinese man had to have his hand attached to his ankle after severing it off his arm.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A factory worker's chopped off hand was grafted onto his ankle for around a month, in order to keep the hand alive until the proper surgery could be conducted. This is not the first time Chinese surgeons attached and saved a hand with this method. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter