Best Foot Forward: Smart Prosthesis Provides Better Lifestyle

Since it developed the Trustep Foot in 1990, College Park Industries has been hard at work designing and manufacturing a collection of custom-built foot and ankle prosthetics. What makes these feet different? An unparalleled range of motion. Whether you’re a skateboarder, dancer, runner or hiker, it’s a pretty sure bet College Park Industries has a foot for you.

College Park has helped all kinds of individuals overcome obstacles and meet new goals, from those born without limbs to others like Dale Beatty, an Iraq war veteran and bilateral amputee, who is a long-time wearer of the Soleus feet from College Park.

If prosthetics don’t work naturally and correctly with the body it can be exhausting both physically and mentally, said Mike Leydet, Director of Research at College Park Industries, in a recent interview for at PlanetPTC Live 2012.

Watch the full interview here.

“If you’ve ever gone into a grocery store and grabbed that cart that’s got the banged up wheel and its making squeaking noises and then when you load it up it’s hard to push around, it’s the same thing with a prosthetic foot. If [the user] has got a foot that’s not properly aligned or working with them well then they’re constantly hitting that wall,” Leydet said.

In 2010 College Park Industries released the first six degree of freedom wireless prosthetic. The iPecs measures forces and torsion where and how the user feels it and wirelessly relays the information in real-time to a PC. This pioneering technology allows researchers a window into the everyday experiences of users, providing further insight into performance requirements for prosthetic limbs.

“You can have someone walk up a mountainside for two or three hours and collect all that data and see those forces and movements,” said Leydet.

iPecs technology, originally built by College Park for its own internal purposes, is now being shared by the company with universities, prosthetic manufacturers and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Later this year a newer version of the technology will be available to clinicians so that they can better match patients with prosthesis that fit their gait.

And what’s the next big project for College Park? The team has some designs for biotic feet, according to Leydet, but cost is a huge factor. The market is not yet ready for bionic prosthetics because the cost would be prohibitive, he said.

Read more about the iPecs: Wireless Prosthetics Allow Researchers to Study Patients Outside the Lab

For more information about the CAD software used in the design of the iPecs, visit the Creo Resource Center.

Photo Courtesy of College Park Industries

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