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Bionic Knee Replacements Are Powered By Your Walk

Knees are often the first thing to go. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons predicts that by 2030 total knee replacement surgeries will grow by a stunning 673 percent, with 3.5 million procedures per year. These surgeries are often replacing another knee replacement, which can wear out within five to ten years. That’s why a smart knee replacement device could prove to be a crucial innovation in the coming years.

“We are working on a knee implant that has built-in sensors that can monitor how much pressure is being put on the implant so doctors can have a clearer understanding of how much activity is negatively affecting the implant,” says assistant professor Sherry Towfighian from Binghamton University in a press statement. Professor Towfighian led a study looking at smart knees funded by the National Institute of Health.

The problem with such an implant would be its power source. If a knee implant had batteries that needed to be replaced, it would require similar surgeries and defeat the entire purpose. To counter the problem, a postdoc in Towfighian’s group developed a prototype of an energy harvester that uses the knees own abilities to generate energy.

Read more at Popular Mechanics