Developed by researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, the Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic -- or AMP -- Foot 2.0 is not only designed to give wearers an incredibly natural and lifelike gait, it also features an energy harvesting system to put a natural spring back into someone's step.
Your average prosthetic uses a spring or elastic to store and repurpose energy from a downward step to propel the wearer forward. But it's a passive approach that doesn't precisely mimic the motion and actions of a human leg. The AMP Foot 2.0, on the other hand, uses a lightweight motor powering an actuator and a specially-designed locking release mechanism.
The actuator ensures there's always enough stored energy to push-off someone weighing up to 74 kilograms at every step, while the timed release mechanism matches the natural motion of someone walking on flat ground. What's most impressive is that the prosthetic weighs just two and a half kilograms, which is close to the weight of a human foot. So in theory it wouldn't take someone long to learn to walk with the new prosthetic. [Vrije Universiteit Brussel via Gizmag]