Mo Rastgaar (MEEM/MuSTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has recieved a $680,182 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “NRI: INT: COLLAB: Anthropomorphic Robotic Ankle Prosthesis with Programmable Materials.” This is a four-year project.
There are currently 2 million Americans living with an amputation; the majority of those amputations are of the lower limbs. Leg amputation is a significant life-altering event that has an overwhelmingly negative effect on many aspects of life, even years after the injury. Leg amputation can cost in excess of $1.8 million per individual. Most available prostheses are designed to replicate some aspects of normal ankle function during level-ground walking. These prostheses allow many individuals with below-knee amputation to return to basic daily activities. However, these devices are best suited for level-ground walking and many users experience difficulties during other important tasks, such as walking on slopes, stairs, or different terrains. Therefore, the general aim of this project is to address this gap in the design of existing powered ankle-foot prostheses by enabling new prosthetics that adapt to different environmental conditions commonly found in daily life.
In addition to advancing research, undergraduate and graduate students will be involved in research activities and will receive interdisciplinary education/innovation/outreach experiences. Outreach activities will allow the project team to engage diverse middle and high school students, especially those from underrepresented groups and low-income families. The findings from this project will be disseminated through publications, software sharing, and technology commercialization.