Automated Alignment System for Prosthetic Feet (20030)

Different types of prosthetic feet necessitate different alignment. Dynamic Alignment of prosthetic feet is currently accomplished using empirical, iterative methods. A clinician tentatively aligns the foot, the client walks with the foot/prosthesis system, and the clinician makes necessary changes to the alignment. This process is repeated until an agreeable alignment is found that satisfies both the client and the clinician. The adjustments are made to a "pylon" that will remain in the patient's artificial limb.

This invention aligns prosthetic feet automatically, quickly and reliably. A computer program determines the best alignment for a given foot, and presents alignment parameters to the user. The user then dials-in these settings to a specially designed apparatus which aligns the foot with the other supporting components of the artificial limb. The software can store information on all of the prosthetic feet available in the marketplace, and it can be upgraded to include new prosthetic feet as they enter the market. Software is PC based, and can run on either an IBM, UNIX or MAC operating system.

FIELD OF APPLICATION: This invention has applications in the limb prosthetics industry, especially for use in clinical prosthetics facilities. It can be applied either to a patient who is receiving a prosthetic foot for the first time, or to a patient where a new type of prosthetic foot is replacing an old one. The technology is currently developed for trans-tibial prosthetic alignment but may be advanced to cover other types of prosthetic devices such as trans-femoral prostheses.

ADVANTAGES: Test studies have verified system accuracy. Empirical adjustment is significantly reduced or completely eliminated. Productivity increases as a result. The system provides a highly visual, scientific approach that facilitates training and greater insight into how alignment is achieved. The software is easily upgraded as new prosthetic feet enter the market. And the potential to completely eliminate empirical adjustment opens the opportunity to replace adjustable pylons with fabricated leg supports that are lighter and less expensive.

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: The alignment apparatus and associated software have been developed and tested. Results show a suitable match with those achieved through current methods. Additional information pertinent to alignment is being added to the software, such as the properties of the shoe to be used with the prosthetic foot.

Inventor(s): Andrew Hansen, Dudley Childress and Michel Sam

Type of Offer: Licensing

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