After hearing all the hype, I was thrilled to have the chance to see and to try iWalk's new PowerFoot. I believe the technology is exciting and stands to change everything we know about below knee prosthetics. This device contains a motor that acts as a calf muscle. Each step is powered through the motor and into the foot. The technology has left me feeling inspired about what lies ahead within my lifetime!
Like other amputees who have tried this foot, I find that it is difficult to explain. I felt a slight burst of energy with each step. The knee and hip strategies that I use when walking are not needed while wearing this foot.
Yes, the PowerFoot is both heavy and cumbersome; however, the function far outweighs the weight. After all, I'm sure that my amputated limb weighed at least 4 pounds (the weight of the PowerFoot). Although the prosthetic is heavy, I think that the mass of the leg is more of a detriment.
The components above the foot are large in circumference and look bulky. Wearing a fashion boot would be difficult if not impossible. Although the technology is cutting edge, the aesthetics are reminiscent of the 1960's space program. Of course, the look of the foot would not keep me from using it if I were able.
Unfortunately, because of the sheer size, I am not a candidate to use this foot. At least, I can't use this generation. Perhaps when the technology is further miniaturized and the device is smaller, I will be able to try again. Until then, I remain optimistic about the advances in prosthetic technology and the impact that we all will realize within the next few years.
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