Tibion Bionic Technologies out of Moffett Field, California has developed a powered knee orthosis to help people with all kinds of neuromuscular or joint disorders, such as status post lower extremity surgery, chronic weakness of leg muscles, osteoarthritis, or even strokes, to get off the crutches. The device is powered by an internal battery and controlled by an algorithm that aims to make the power assist automatic and unnoticeable to the patient. The Engineer Online is reporting that UCSF is currently testing the PK100 on a select group of patients:
The so-called Tibion PK100, or PowerKnee, is a robotic boot that inserts into the user’s shoe and extends up to mid-thigh. It is equipped with multiple sensors and microprocessors that can detect the user’s actions – such as making a transition from sitting to standing, or climbing stairs – and adjust its support accordingly.
Jean Nelson, vice-president of marketing of Tibion, the maker of the PowerKnee, based at NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, said: ‘Basically, the device determines what the patient is trying to do and then assists in that action. The computer’s learning algorithm allows it to adapt after the first few steps.’
And here are additional details about the device taken from Tibion’s product page:
Utilizing sensors throughout the device and in a shoe insert, Tibion’s PK100 detects the user’s actions, such as sitting/standing, walking and ascending/descending stairs. Microprocessors on the device analyze this information and transparently apply the force needed to augment the user’s actions. The result is appropriately applied external forces that supplement muscle strength during critical daily activities.
Features of Tibion’s PK100:
• Transparent activation
• Easily adjustable for multiple patients
• Customizable settings with stored profiles
Watch the PowerKnee in action:
Device brochure: Tibion PK100
Info page @ Tibion…
(hat tip: The Engineer Online)