Welcome!

News Feed Item

First Neurally Controlled, Powered Prosthetic Limb Is 2,109 Steps Closer To Realization

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Freedom Innovations, LLC, a leading developer of high technology prosthetic medical devices, announced today that research participant Zac Vawter utilized the world's first neurally controlled, powered prosthetic limb to climb 103 floors (2,109 steps) of Chicago's Willis Tower at the SkyRise Chicago fundraiser. In this most grueling test of the technology to date, Vawter demonstrated that this advanced research is quickly on its way to becoming available to lower-limb amputees worldwide.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121107/LA08628 )

Originally developed at Vanderbilt University, the Powered Knee & Ankle System's neural controls are the result of research from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). Prosthetic developer Freedom Innovations is on track to commercialize the first phase of the technology, the Powered Knee & Ankle System in early 2015. Further development of the neural-controlled system is underway, as it represents the next step required to fully restore lower-limb amputees' complete biological function.

The computerized prosthetic limb Vawter used in the climb incorporates two significant advancements in prosthetic technology. First, as the only system to feature fully-powered knee and ankle prosthetic joints, the prosthetic limb is no longer passive. Motors in the system replace muscle function lost from an amputation. This facilitates power-driven ambulation that also allows an amputee to actively climb stairs and slopes. Second, Vawter benefited from neural control of this powered system where his thoughts helped to direct the software and action of the prosthetic limb via targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR).  

TMR is a surgical procedure pioneered at RIC. Brain signals from nerves severed during amputation are rerouted to intact muscles, allowing patients to control their robotic prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action that they want to perform.

Vawter, 31, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident three years ago, put the technology on public display for the first time during the annual stair-climbing charity event hosted by RIC. He completed the 103-story climb in just over 52 minutes.

"One of the biggest differences for me is being able to take stairs step-over-step like everyone else," said Vawter. "With my standard prosthesis, I have to take every step with my good foot first and sort of lift or drag the prosthetic leg up. With the bionic leg, it's simple, I take stairs like I used to, and can even take two at a time." 

As has been illustrated by this historical climb, it is a convergence of technologies and research collaboration between multiple organizations that is driving this groundbreaking technology forward. Freedom Innovations is working aggressively towards commercialization, so amputees worldwide can benefit from increased prosthetic functionality including improved agility, balance, and fall prevention. This improved level of safety will not only reduce the potential for injury and costly hospital admissions, it is expected to greatly improve the quality of life for those living with limb loss.

About Freedom Innovations
Freedom Innovations, LLC designs, manufactures, and markets advanced technology lower extremity prosthetic devices that provide people with physical challenges the ability to reach their full potential. Based in Irvine, CA, Freedom's lower extremity prosthetics are distributed around the world. For more information, visit www.freedom-innovations.com

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Founded in 1954, RIC has been designated the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. For more information, go to www.ric.org

About the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, Vanderbilt University
The Center focuses on the design and control of electromechanical devices, with particular emphasis on the intersection of design and control. Much of its work is human-centered, including current research in anthropomorphic robotic upper and lower extremity prostheses; dynamic approaches to the control of robot biped locomotion; and the use of biologically derived coordination for the control of legged locomotion in multi-legged robots. Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt University comprises 10 schools, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Ranked as one of the nation's top universities, Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

SOURCE Freedom Innovations

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Information technology (IT) advances are transforming the way we innovate in business, thereby disrupting the old guard and their predictable status-quo. It’s creating global market turbulence. Industries are converging, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, like never before. So, how are savvy chief information officers (CIOs) leading this transition? Back in 2015, the IBM Institute for Business Value conducted a market study that included the findings from over 1,800 CIO interviews ...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Niagara Networks exhibited at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.