ISRO develops microprocessor controlled prosthetic knee RS News

Chennai: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Friday said it has developed a microprocessor controlled Ni (MPK) which is ten times cheaper than imported Knee.

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According to ISRO, the MPK will benefit people with above knee disabilities to walk with a comfortable gait.

With microprocessors, prostheses provide additional capabilities for amputation compared to those offered by passive organs without microprocessors.

The space agency said the MPK has enabled a disabled person to walk about 100 meters in a corridor with minimal support and efforts are underway to improve the performance.

These smart MPKs were developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), ISRO from National Institute of Locomotor Disability (NILD), Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay National Institute of Physically Handicapped Persons (Divyangjan) (PDUNIPPD (D)), and Artificial Limb Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO).

An MPK consists of a microprocessor, hydraulic damper, load and knee angle sensors, composite knee case, Li-ion battery, electrical harness, and interface elements.

The microprocessor detects the movement position based on the sensor data. The control software estimates the real-time damping required to achieve the desired gait by varying the stiffness of the system, achieved by a hydraulic damper driven by a DC motor. Specific walking parameters for the disabled can be set using PC-based software to improve one’s comfort. The interface plots the parameters in real time while running.

After testing the MPK with a normal person, the prosthesis was tested with an amputee, who was identified by the NILD for testing walking.

The tests were conducted jointly by NILD and VSSC at the NILD laboratory. Socket and fitment of amp from MPK was realized by NILD.

VSSC tuned Empty-specific parameters. The initial running test was done with the support of parallel bars. Thereafter, the amputee could walk about 100 meters across the corridor with minimal support. All sub-systems of the knee performed satisfactorily.

According to ISRO, the MPK currently available in India is imported and costs between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 60 lakh depending on the complexity and functionality.

The cost of ISRO MPK once commercialized is expected to be around Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

Optimization of the MPK in terms of mass and envelope size is underway. ISRO said more intelligence is being incorporated into the system to help it tread on uneven terrain with advanced features for greater comfort.

However, ISRO did not specify the timeline to come up with the final product which would be commercialised.

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