Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati have claimed to have developed an affordable prosthetic leg, specifically designed for Indian conditions such as uneven terrain and Indian needs such as cross-legged sitting and deep squatting.
The prosthetic leg with reduced weight is also adjustable for the different age groups and multiple stages of prosthesis use, they said. Prototypes of the model developed by the team are currently undergoing trials.
According to the team, prosthesis development in India faces many challenges, and highly functional mobility for amputees requires devices with advanced features, which cost a lot of money.
“Market products developed with western technology ignore Indian locomotion needs, such as cross-legged sitting, deep squatting for toilet use, and exercise postures in Yoga which can be used for rehabilitation, S Kanagaraj, Professor at Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said.
He said that difficult terrain significantly hampers the functioning of traditional ankle joints in prosthetics, and lack of dynamic balance may cause the user to fall during certain physical activities. “The knee joint developed by our team has a spring-assisted deep squat mechanism, which helps in use of Indian toilet system more comfortably, the knee-rotating mechanism helps cross-legged sitting, the locking mechanism helps reduce the fear of falling in patients while walking on an unknown terrain, Kanagraj said.
He also said that the adjustable link length in a knee — such as they claim to have provided in their product — helps to have either more stability or easy flexing, depending on age and requirement of the patients. Overall, the knee joint is designed to meet the Indian life style which other products fail to fulfil,” he said.
The leg built by the team has a prosthesis alignment adjuster mechanism, and a feature to activate or deactivate the knee-locking mechanism by the user. The researchers conducted a gait a motion analysis to detect any abnormality in the gait pattern of the users, which was then reduced by using a different knee design. As different parameters such as comfort, weight, and functionality of lower limb prosthesis play an important role in deciding human locomotion, the prosthesis leg is optimized to meet all requirements,” Kanagraj said.
He said that the prosthetic built by their team is tested as per international standard and can support up to 100 kg body weight. The leg will cost Rs 25,000, he said. Reduced weight of prosthetic leg is achieved by selecting suitable polymers, aluminium alloys and stainless steel for different components, he added.
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