New Leg Lengthening Technique, Exoskeleton from Honda, Bionic Knees, and 5 year old has new springs

April 20, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Posted in disability | Leave a comment

Medical MondayGo Go Gadget Legs

This is the third of three articles for Moose’s Medical Monday, April 20th 2009

Finland Smart Material Technology Adapted To Repairing Skeletal Malformations Succeeds:shadow looks like man is 10 feet tall

In traditional bone stretching treatments, the bone is stretched using a frame on the outside of the limb. This is painful and nearly always leads to infection of the puncture root and formation of large scars. Other complications are a decrease in the area of movement of the limb and fractures in the new bone. After care adds significantly to the costs of treatment. By using Synoste’s completely implantable limb lengthening device, these problems are avoided. The device is based on bone marrow nailing, which is usually used in orthopaedics. A bone marrow nail is placed in the long bone of an artificially fractured limb and slowly extended. Through the bone’s normal healing mechanisms, new bone grows in the fracture cleft and thus the bone lengthens.

“The nail does not contain electronics; rather its operation is based on achieving lengthening by the innovative use of a smart material that reacts to a magnetic field. The benefits of the technology are a high degree of reliability, controllability, cost-efficiency and patient friendliness”, says researcher Antti Ritvanen in describing the technology developed by the group.

“Four times per day, the patient places his foot on an automatic home care device that produces a magnetic field, at which time a daily stretching of about one millimetre is divided into smaller steps. Lengthening can be carried out painlessly at home, even while lounging on the sofa, and only takes a few minutes of the day”

Japan Slide Show: Exoskeletons Give New Life to Legs:Stride Management Assist and Body Weight Support Assist exoskeleton device from Honda

David Iida, a spokesperson for Honda present at the event, says the primary inspiration for the devices was the demographic shift in Japan, which has a shrinking population and the world’s highest proportion of elderly people. Honda’s goal: to provide automated devices such as the Stride Management Assist and the Body Weight Support Assist that will provide the aged and disabled with increased mobility.

The Stride Management Assist works by pushing and pulling the user’s legs forward or backward as he or she walks. Two small, silent electric motors placed level with the hip joint power the device, which straps on to the user with three belts—one around the waist and two around each leg.

The Bodyweight Support Assist supports the weight of users rather than adding extra force to their stride. Users “sit” in a saddle connected to their shoes by leglike armatures, and the unit maintains a constant upward force toward the wearer’s center of gravity, making it feel as if the user is lighter than he or she actually is.

District of Columbia Iraq veteran gets powerful new knees:Lt. Col. Greg Gadson has two bionic knees

The Power Knee uses sensors (in contact with the thigh muscle, for example) to anticipate how the user will move, and then shifts itself into position.

“This is the second generation Power Knee,” says Tabi King, a spokesperson for Ossur Americas, the manufacturer. “It uses the same type of technology, but it’s half the size, makes half the noise, is half the weight and is much more intelligent.”

King says the knee is learning in real time to react to a patient so the patient doesn’t have to think about walking. “There are sensors and artificial intelligence in the prosthetic that are watching what the body is doing. The biggest benefit is by doing so much work on its own, the amputee doesn’t have to think about movement.”

United Kingdom Ellie May has a spring in her step:Ellie May with carbon framed legs

A BRAVE girl who tragically lost all her limbs to meninigitis is learning to walk again.

Five-year-old Ellie May Challis has become the youngest person in the world to be fitted with special carbon framed limbs.

The youngster touched the hearts of people across the county as she defied the odds to survive the killer bug which she contracted in 2005.

Sadly Ellie May had to have all her limbs amputated eight weeks later.

People from across Essex rallied to support her parents Lisa and Paul Challis by holding fundraisers to pay for prosthetic limbs, but those have left her struggling to keep up with her classmates at Engaines Primary School in Little Clacton and her twin sister Sophie.

So her parents, who moved to Little Clacton from Rainham at Christmas, contacted world renowned prosthetic limb centre Dorset Orthopaedic to see if they could help and the firm made the specially designed new legs.

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