WillowWood, Mt. Sterling, Ohio has secured a $2 million Department of Defense (DOD) clinical translational research grant to develop and validate a self-adapting myoelectrically-controlled ankle utilizing continuously variable ankle stiffness. The research grant will explore the myoelectric collection and application of lower-limb muscle contracture data that will be used to control the prosthetic device while determining the appropriate ankle stiffness for a user’s activity in real time.
WillowWood and its grant partners, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), the University of Michigan, and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, will aim to develop and validate a variable stiffness prosthetic ankle design that includes myoelectric pattern recognition to improve the function of the prosthetic device.
The prosthetic device, originally conceived at the Center for Bionic Medicine at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, will be designed to imitate a person’s natural ankle movement during stance phase while allowing the ankle to change the stiffness level during swing phase in order to accommodate different activities. Clinical test participants will wear prosthetic liners with embedded electrodes that will capture muscle contracture signals as test participants complete various mobility tasks.
“There is a significant need to develop prosthetic technologies that can more accurately provide the varying mechanics exhibited by the human foot and ankle, which we believe will address mobility challenges faced by amputees,” said Jim Colvin, director of research and technology for WillowWood.
Clinical testing is scheduled to begin in 2019 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.