SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

University of Utah researchers unveil Utah Bionic Leg

Oct 5, 2022, 7:30 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2023, 2:44 pm

Doctoral student Suzi Creveling talks about her work on the Utah Bionic Leg in the new University o...

Doctoral student Suzi Creveling talks about her work on the Utah Bionic Leg in the new University of Utah College of Engineering HGN lab in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The university has forged a new partnership with Ottobock, a leader in the prosthetics industry, to license the technology behind the Utah Bionic Leg and bring it to individuals with lower-limb amputations. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred.

SALT LAKE CITY — Researchers at the University of Utah‘s Bionic Engineering Lab unveiled the new Utah Bionic Leg during a press conference Wednesday.

The university has forged a new partnership with Ottobock to license the technology behind the Utah Bionic Leg. Ottobock is a global leader in prosthetics. 

The bionic leg will be available to people with lower-limb amputations, according to a news release. 

“The largest prosthetics manufacturer in the world has committed to use the highest level of technologies available in robotics and AI to bring this prosthetic leg to those who need it as soon as possible,” said Tommaso Lenzi, U of U mechanical engineering associate professor in a news release.

“Ottobock promotes freedom of movement, quality for life, and independence. They are saying now is the time to make such technical solutions available to everyone,” said Lenzi.

Utah Bionic Leg provides power

Lenzi, who is the lead researcher on the project, says the leg gives amputees more power to walk. It also gives people more ability to sit up and sit down, as well as go up and down stairs.

To make this happen, the leg uses motors, processors and advanced artificial intelligence, according to the news release. 

“If you walk faster, it will walk faster for you and give you more energy,” Lenzi said. “Or it adapts automatically to the height of the steps in a staircase. Or it can help you cross over obstacles.”

With the new partnership with Ottobock, Lenzi says his team can work effectively with researchers at Ottobock.

“We want to make sure the good ideas go from the lab to the market at soon as possible,” he said. “What we’re trying to create here is a partnership that will enable us to work together on these kinds of problems. By combining the best of academia with the best of industry.”

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University of Utah researchers unveil Utah Bionic Leg