ASU Polytechnic engineering professor Tom Sugar and his students have been working with the Military Amputee Research Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to develop a below the knee prosthetic device based on Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics (aka “SPARKy”) technology since 2007.
Fellow ASU professor, George Wolf who lost part of his left leg in a hang-gliding accident two years ago, volunteered to participate as an early volunteer in the research and testing of the new device. SPARKy is one of a kind because it uses lightweight energy-storing springs to provide a flex that traditional devices just can’t give, and after years or refinement and development Sugar says they are close to perfecting it.
“Arizona State University researchers have developed a prosthetic device that literally puts the spring back into an amputee’s step. They have developed and refined SPARKy (for spring ankle with regenerative kinetics) into a smart, active and energy-storing below-the-knee (transbitial) prosthesis. SPARKy is the first prosthetic device to apply regenerative kinetics to its design, which resulted in a lightweight (4-pound) device that allows the wearer to walk on grass, cement and rocks, as well as ascend and descend stairs and inclines.”
We worked with Skip Derra from ASU Public Affairs to produce this short video about the SPARKy research and development success.