Germany-based Ottobock HealthCare first introduced the C-Leg Microprocessor Prosthetic Knee, developed by Dr Kelly James, PhD, from the University of Alberta, Canada, to the Canadian market in 1997.

Reportedly the world’s first fully microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joint, the C-Leg was developed to react more like a human knee would, and allow for more natural movement.

As part of its design, the C-Leg consists of various sensors that send information to a microprocessor. Based on this information, the microprocessor adjust the behavior of hydraulics in the knee in real time to help enable the user to do such things as adapt their walking pattern and walking speed, sit in a chair, and walk down stairs, explains a media release from Ottobock.

Since its introduction, the C-Leg has evolved in its functionality and design. The current version, the C-Leg 4, offers such features as advanced activity modes, allowing amputees to participate in activities such as cycling, dancing, and golf; weatherproofing; and a smartphone app, which enables users to switch modes and check battery life.

Mark Agro, president and CEO of Burlington, Ontario, Canada-headquartered Ottobock HealthCare Canada, thinks back on the prosthetic market prior to the C-Leg’s introduction:

“Knees that were available prior to the C-Leg were mostly mechanical knees. Some were pneumatic, some of them were hydraulic. But they were not fully controlled by a microprocessor. They relied upon the amputee to think and actively stabilize the prosthesis,” he says, in the release

“Microprocessors have revolutionized amputee gait,” he adds. “They commonly report they don’t have to think about walking or if there’s a crowd of people around them, because the knee gives them the stability they need at all phases of the gait. This translates into added safety and security.”

For more information about the C-Leg’s 20th anniversary, visit the Ottobock YouTube channel.

[Source: Ottobock]