Mercoledì, 26 Giugno 2019
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ROME

World's first bionic legs presented, soon on market

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 16 - Scientists in Florence on Monday
presented the world's first set of bionic legs aimed at enabling
amputees to walk with less effort.
The legs are the result of a European project called
Cyberlegs that combines artificial limbs with so-called wearable
robots.
Up to now 11 people have tested the bionic legs at
Florence's Fondazione Don Gnocchi as part of the project
coordinated by the Bio-Robotics Institute of Pisa's Scuola
Superiore Sant'Anna University.
"It's a combination of technologies that help people walk
in a natural way again," said Nicola Vitiello, the project's
coordinator.
The Cyberlegs, standing for CYBERnetic Lower-Limb
Cognitive Ortho-prosthesis, enable the amputee to walk backwards
and forward, go up and down stairs, and move from sit-to-stand
and stand-to-sit with a minimum cognitive and energetic effort.
The legs can 'understand' user-motor intentions smoothly
and effectively to prevent the risk of falling, via a
multi-sensory fusion algorithm based on observation of the
motion of the amputee's body, the interaction force between the
Cyberlegs and the amputee, and their force interaction with
ground.
Vitiello said that, if the project gets adequate funding
from industrial partners, the Cyberlegs should be on the market
"within two or three years".
"The results (of tests) suggest more engineering work is
needed on the system to reduce volume and weight to improve the
comfort for the amputee," he added.
The bionic legs were developed with experts from he
University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, the Catholic University of
Louvain and the Free University of Brussels, both Belgian
institutions.
The project was founded in 2012 thanks to 2.5 million
euros in European Commission funding by Maria Chiara Carrozza,
who was also in charge of it until she was sworn in as education
minister in 2013.
"The number of amputees is increasing and it's a great
success for them to be able to leave behind their crutches and
wheelchairs," said Carrozza, who was education minister until
February 2014.
The Cyberlegs system is based on a several different
elements developed by the project.
These include a robotic prosthesis connected to a network
of sensors that replaces the amputated limb and an robotic
active pelvis orthosis, which being linked to both limbs,
supports the motion and facilitates walking.

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