The biggest challenge faced by designers when making a prosthetic leg is how to capture and recreate that natural flow of movement. When a person who has two legs walks, they don’t consciously think about the articulations in their knee, ankle and foot. Their body knows what to do to keep them balanced and stable, functioning at optimum level, and it simply does it. Any kind of imbalance or instability can result in over-compensation with the other leg and ultimately sores and back pain.
Early prosthetic legs lacked that fluidity in the joints and made for very awkward and often uncomfortable movement. It also made it very apparent that someone had a disability, drawing attention to the individual for all the wrong reasons.
Blatchford is an old established company that designs, manufactures and sells advanced, smart prosthetic limbs.
Their latest generation of prosthetic legs is the Linx which incorporates knee and ankle technologies which communicate to one another in perfect unison.
According to Blatchford’s website, the Linx’s Controlled Stance Support provides “supportive resistance throughout stance phase provides optimal stability for walking with greater safety and less effort on a variety of surfaces.”
This results in a much smoother and more natural looking walk without the user having to focus constantly to avoid stumbling or getting pressure sores. One user talks about their centre of gravity being much more stable and finding it a lot easier to walk over different types of terrain. In describing the Linx, one user repeatedly used the word trust. Watch the following short videos where real people relate their experience of using the Linx.