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'Prosthetic Emulator': New Tool for Designing More Stable Prosthetic Legs

Stanford University engineers have developed a more stable prosthetic leg, and a better way of designing them. Challenging terrain like a hiking trail or a cobblestone street could become more manageable for people who have lost a lower leg. The new design features a tripod foot that responds to rough or uneven terrain by shifting pressure between three contact points. The new prosthetic emulator tool allows the team to quickly emulate and improve their prototypes, and flips the design process on its head. Instead of building a prosthetic limb to test in the real world, the team built the basic tripod foot, and then hooked it up to powerful off-board motors and computer systems that control how the foot responds as a user moves over all kinds of terrain.