Man controls bionic knee with Bluetooth

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iol scitech feb 13 bionic knee AP File photo: Humankind has never been more inventive, whether in designing driverless cars, discovering new drugs for cancer or building bionic limbs.

London - A former soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan has told how being fitted with the world’s most advanced bionic knee has transformed his life.

Gregg Stevenson, 29, is the first wounded serviceman to wear a ground-breaking prosthetic limb which has a Bluetooth remote control to switch from walking, jogging, cycling and even golfing modes.

It can also automatically sense and react to his movements, enabling it to adapt seamlessly when he breaks out into a run or tackles a flight of stairs.

The device is also waterproof, meaning he can keep it on in the shower or at the beach.

On Wednesday Mr Stevenson, who lives with wife Melanie and two-year-old son Harry in Foulridge, Lancashire, said the new limb would give him “almost complete freedom”.

“Before, I had to switch between different knees for different activities – this is much, much easier,” he said. “I feel blessed that I’ve regained this much mobility.”

Mr Stevenson was just a fortnight from the end of his first tour of duty with the elite 24 Commando Engineer Regiment supporting the Royal Marines in Helmand Province in 2009 when a Taliban IED exploded.He lost his left leg above the knee and his right leg just below it.

Last month he was given the new Genium X model of knee, funded by the Ministry of Defence.

The £70 000 limb, the first to be fitted in the UK, is programmed from a laptop and can be switched manually between different modes.

But what makes it particularly ground-breaking is it also uses Wii-style sensors to anticipate when the wearer is breaking into a run – to catch a bus, for example – and adapts accordingly, just like a human leg. It was designed with the US military and was attached at Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre in Preston. Mr Stevenson said: “I’ve just started kicking a football with my son. He will have to keep up with me now.”

He added: “Since I was injured, I haven’t been able to go back to work as an engineer because the prosthetic legs that I was using before really limited my movement, but now I’m hoping to get back to work. It’s fantastic.” - Daily Mail

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