CMU improving mobility: Making robotic prosthesis to help prevent falls in amputees

For an amputee using a prosthetic leg, a crack in the pavement or a divot in the grass can cause a stumble that leads to a fall and serious injury. So Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor of robotics Hartmut Geyer and his team are developing a robotic prosthetic, one that will enable above-the-knee amputees to feel less susceptible to stumbles. The prosthesis would work the same way natural legs do, including the way they recover their balance after a trip or stumble, an action that doesn’t require a second thought for most people.“The focus of this project is the idea that amputees can use a prosthetic, and if they walk in Schenley Park and they accidentally trip or slip, or if someone bumps into them, they can automatically recover their balance and there’s no fear of falling down,” reports Geyer.