A control system that integrated electrical signals generated during muscle contractions and using a person's manner of walking resulted in improved real-time control of a powered prosthetic leg for different modes of walking, a new study published on JAMA.
Leg prostheses that provide power are now available in the market, but different ambulation modes require very different control sequences for operating powered prosthetic limbs. Transitioning these powered limbs between different ambulation modes requires patients to slow down, stop, press buttons on an electronic key fob, or perform unrelated body movements.
To maximize benefit from these devices and ensure patient safety, control systems must automatically identify which ambulation mode the patient is using and provide the correct prosthesis response.
The activation of the prosthesis is completely natural and intuitive for the user because the signals come from the very muscles that used to move the original appendage. The system also uses pattern recognition algorithms to predict the next stride and adjusts accordingly to produce the kind of step the wearer intends.