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SPARKy Robotic Ankle

Here’s a cool video showcasing SPARKy (Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics), a robotic ankle system developed for amputees that stores energy in its spring and motors and releases that energy to give that extra push during the walking gait.  It was developed by Professor Thomas Sugar at Arizona State University with the Military Amputee Research Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  There are more than 1,000 soldiers with below-the-knee amputations from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 100,000 diabetics get the same operation annually.  With standard prosthetics, amputees expend 20~30% more energy just to swing the thing around, but the beauty of SPARKy is that it stores and releases its own energy for a smooth and natural walk.  A single SPARKy unit will cost approximately $20,000 USD to begin with, but Sugar hopes the price can come down as more people begin to enjoy it.

Video:

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[source: Ken Fagan @ Vimeo] via [Living With Robots (JP)] & [AZ Central]

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