A group of MIT and Brown researchers and engineers have debuted a prosthetic foot that propels the user forward using "tendon-like springs and an electric motor," meaning it is even more like the real thing than traditional prostheses. Professor Hugh Herr, head of biomechatronics at MIT's Media Lab, and a double amputee himself, tested the device, describing it as "wild—like you're on one of those moving walkways in the airport."
The iWalk uses the energy from the wearer's forward motion, stores it in the power-assisted spring and then releases it as the foot pushes off, the battery-powered motor providing additional help. According to Prof Herr, the iWalk has "three times the power of a conventional prosthesis to propel you forward, and... provides amputees with a truly humanlike gait." [iWalk via MedGadget]