Ossur's Proprio Foot nets the 2007 da Vinci Award

Aliso Viejo 28 September 2007Ossur, a trusted and global developer of more scientifically advanced prosthetic innovations than any other company in the field, is the winner of a 2007 da Vinci Award with its Proprio Foot. The Proprio Foot, the latest in Ossur's Bionic Technology platform, is the world's first motor-powered and intelligent prosthetic foot, a seamless fusion of electronics, mechanics, and human physiology that reduces the energy patients spend in reacting consciously to the environment.

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The foot replaces muscle function that was lost due to an amputation, enabling amputees to perform normal, functional activites by:

  • Sensing - Knowing where their foot is in space is a huge safety issue for amputees. Sophisticated sensor technology mimics the body's own neural receptors that are sensitive to mechanical change, providing artificial proprioception - that sense of where the limb is in space. Hence the name Proprio Foot.
  • Thinking - Patented artificial intelligence (AI) processes information from the sensors and activates the most appropriate response for the next step.
  • Acting - The AI transmits a constant stream of signals which instruct high-precision actuator technology to act and deliver optimal function. Expertise in real-time motion analysis for the foot was provided by Canadian company, Dynastream.

The Proprio Foot provides unprecedented physiological benefits for transtibial amputees. A wide and automated range of ankle flexion with proven Flex-Foot dynamics means function is as close as you can get today to the human foot. The Proprio Foot thinks for itself, responding beautifully to changing terrain and transforming the approach to stairs and slopes, as well as level-ground walking. Angling itself appropriately, it also helps amputees to sit and stand up easily and more naturally.

The da Vinci Awards - the prestigious annual recognition programme effected by the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - honours outstanding engineering achievements relative to design process, product design and applied research as relate to accessibility and universal design issues.

"We take great pleasure in knowing that the Proprio Foot has won the 2007 da Vinci Award", stated Eythor Bender, Ossur America's president. "The foot was launched in September 2006, and the United States Department of Defense and the VA are both actively using it to benefit servicemen returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, as well as veterans of past wars. It is also quickly becoming the foot of choice for diabetic amputees all over the world."

The 2007 da Vinci Award winners are being honoured at a ceremony, September 28th, 2007 during a gala reception at the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Heidrun Ragnarsdottir, director of product management and lead engineer on the Proprio Foot project, is on hand to accept.

In addition to the 2007 da Vinci Award, the Proprio Foot has walked away with the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award, Popular Science magazine's Best of What's New in Personal Health Award, and Frost & Sullivan's 2006 Medical Devices Technology Innovation Award.

Ossur is as much about helping people to live a life without limitations as it is about its orthopaedic products. A trusted and global expert in the development, manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing of bracing and support products and prosthetics, Ossur pioneers award-winning designs - including its Bionic Technology platform - and partners with the health practitioners who use them to deliver successful clinical and business outcomes.

Headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, the company has operations and a distribution network throughout the world. The company allocates an industry record of 6-8 percent of its revenue on research and development to conceive and harness the most advanced technologies for incorporation in its product designs, and provides extensive education programmes through the Ossur Academy. Ossur is a 2006 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. More company news is available in the VMW July 2007 article Ossur's Proprio Foot takes the Gold 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award.


Leslie Versweyveld

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