Saturday, November 17, 2012

Advances in prosthetics pair limbs with robotics

Advances in prosthetics pair limbs with robotics
25 minutes ago
Stars and Stripes
Published: November 17, 2012

Retired Marine William Gadsby traverses mountain trails and sand dunes with a 50-pound pack on his back, setting the pace for his wife and 3-year-old son.

Not bad for a guy who lost his right leg above the knee to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007.

Thanks to two prosthetic products developed by separate companies, Gadsby can walk with a natural gait, up stairs and over obstacles, vastly improving not just his quality of life but his mental health.

His success and other technological advancements bode well for wounded warriors; one company’s goal is to make artificial limbs that are superior to natural ones.

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began in 2001, the number of amputees has risen as IEDs have become a primary weapon for insurgents. Defense Department statistics say 240 servicemembers lost major limbs last year, the highest annual total since the two conflicts began more than 10 years ago.
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