Skip to Content

Motorfoot

Stroke victims and other people suffering from “drop foot”-a condition in which the front of the foot can’t be controlled-generally wear stiff braces to keep their afflicted feet from flopping and dragging when they walk. But a device under development could give them a robotic boost for improved mobility. Instructor Hugh Herr and graduate student Joaquin Blaya of a joint MIT-Harvard program in health technology, together with electrical engineer Gill Pratt of Olin College in Needham, MA, built an ankle brace with a motor that raises and lowers the front of the foot as the heel strikes the ground and lifts again, providing more natural movement and a reduced risk of falling. The battery-powered device, developed at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, uses algorithms modeled on “biological information about how a normal ankle is controlled,” Herr says. The first tests of the contraption on real patients are expected to begin late this year.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.