An intelligent artificial limb – developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – is expected to be commercialised soon. The artificial limb is likely to be about 10 times cheaper than available options, and it would help “above-knee amputees to walk with a comfortable gait,” the space agency said in a statement on Friday. These are called ‘microprocessor-controlled knees (MPKs)’.
Here are five points on the artificial limb developed by the ISRO.
1. In a tweet, the ISRO wrote: “A 1.6 kg Microprocessor-controlled knee(MPK) enabled an amputee to walk ~100 m in a corridor with little support. Betterment underway.”
2. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO, has developed these MPKs “under an MoU with National Institute for Locomotor disabilities (NILD), Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya National Institute for Persons with Physical Disabilities (Divyangjan) (PDUNIPPD (D)), and Artificial Limb Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO),” the space agency underlined.
3. How does it function? Based on the sensor data, the microprocessor detects the state of the gait. “Walking parameters specific to amputees can be set using PC-based software to improve one’s comfort. The interface plots the parameters in real time during walking,” underlines ISRO.
4. Presently, the MPKs available in the country cost somewhere between ₹10 lakh and ₹60 lakh. These MPKs, however, are expected to cost somewhere between ₹4-5 lakh.
5. “Optimisation of MPKs in terms of mass and envelope size is underway. More intelligence is being incorporated into the system to help the amputee walk through uneven terrains with advanced features for more comfort,” the ISRO said.