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Bioengineering Faculty to Research Clinical Application of Powered Prosthetic Legs

Students Compete in Undergraduate Poster CompetitionDr. Nicholas Fey (left) and Dr. Robert Gregg (right)

Drs. Robert Gregg, principal investigator, and Nicholas Fey, co-principal investigator, recently secured funding from the National Institutes of Health to research the clinical application of variable-activity powered prosthetic legs. This research is expected to lead to significant improvements in community mobility and quality of life for the nearly one million amputees in the United States.

Powered knee-ankle prostheses are currently limited to a small set of pre-defined activities that require several hours of expert tuning for each user. This project will model and control human locomotion over continuously varying tasks for the design of agile, powered prostheses that require minimal tuning, which could accelerate the clinical adoption of powered knee-ankle prostheses for individuals with limb loss above the knee.

The award which is expected to total more than $2.2 million over five years will support three Jonsson School PhD students as well as two staff scientists and engineers. Additionally, the project will further strengthen ties with UT Southwestern Medical Center through clinical collaborations with the director of the UT Southwestern Prosthetics-Orthotics program. Gregg and Fey expect to work with as many as 30 above-knee amputees for testing and validating this technology throughout the project.