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MIT engineers create low-cost prosthetic foot that approximates natural gait

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Engineers from Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMIT have developed a streamlined prosthetic foot that lets wearers walk with a fluid motion, and can be manufactured at a low cost.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers, the nylon prosthesis can be mass manufactured and easily adjusted to suit a specific user's size and weight.

The prosthetic foot was designed with amputees in low- and lower-middle-income countries in mind, but the engineers believe that their invention also has the potential to disrupt the local market in the USA.

"A common passive foot in the US market will cost $1,000 to $10,000, made out of carbon fibre," said Amos Winter, associate professor of mechanical engineering, who worked on the foot alongside project leader Kathryn Olesnavage, a former MIT graduate student.

"Imagine you go to your prosthetist, they take a few measurements, they send them back to us, and we send back to you a custom-designed nylon foot for a few hundred bucks," continued Winter. "This model is potentially game-changing for the industry, because we can fully quantify the foot and tune it for individuals, and use cheaper materials."