Walter Reed Army Medical Center is in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Arizona State University (ASU), and the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). With these universities the focus has been on rehabilitation research to clinical practice in support of the Military Amputee Research Program.
At an MIT conference this week, researcher Hugh Herr unveiled his latest prosthetic limb design: a novel prosthesis modeled on the human ankle. “This is the first prosthesis that allows for a humanlike gait,” said Herr, director of the biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab. He wore his new device on his right leg and his standard prosthesis on his left. The new design mimicks the transfer of energy from tendon to tendon with a series of springs and a small, battery-powered motor.
Thomas Sugar, ASU, said, “It’s like regenerative braking.” Sugar and researchers at the Human Machine Integration Lab at ASU are developing a similar prosthesis. Tests of the device are being carried out at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Illustration: Walter Reed Army Medical Center, US Army.
Technology Review (05/11/07)
McGowan Institute researcher, Rory Cooper, PhD, is the principal investigator on another DOD partnership program coordinated through the University of Pittsburgh. Through Pitt’s and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) research programs, a symposium series of courses and workshops have been held at Walter Reed. The topics were selected based upon the injuries being experienced by soldiers serving in the Army that often result in the need for long-term medical rehabilitation. Topics included Advanced Assistive Devices (Prostheses, Wheeled Mobility, Robotic Technologies), Spinal Cord Injury (Chronic Pain, Metabolic Disease, Vocational Rehabilitation, Sexual Function, Bowel/Bladder Management), Polytrauma (Pharmokinetics, Clinical Trials, Vocational Outcomes, Psycho-Social Issues, Acute Management), and Sensory Impairment (Hearing Loss, Hearing Aides and Adaptive Listening, Blind Rehabilitation, Artificial Retina).
To learn more about HERL and its programs, read more…