Proprio Foot: Yes, We Now Have Mind-Controlled Bionic Feet


The Proprio Foot has long been a popular bionic limb, a robotic ankle that senses a person’s movements and adjusts its angle to simulate a natural stride. A new version of the prosthetic, however, changes the limb’s sensory input system, taking its commands from the brain’s electrical impulses instead of leg movements.

What makes the Proprio Foot’s new abilities possible is the company’s new implanted myoelectric sensor (IMES) technology, a pair of small sensors embedded in the muscle tissue that reads electrical impulses from the brain, processes it, and wirelessly transmits the decoded command to the foot. Unlike other experimental systems that read brain input, they don’t require implanting electrodes directly in the brain or transplanting tissue muscle. Instead, each of the 3 x 80 mm sensors are placed on the base of the leg in a minor surgery that takes just 15 minutes. Just as impressive, each of the sensors are powered by magnetic coils embedded in the robot limb’s socket, so there’s no battery system to recharge or replace over time.


During use, the transmission from brain to sensor to the bionic limb is instantaneous, with the command reaching the prosthesis before the wearer’s muscles actually contract. As such, there’s no unnatural lag between intention and action, making the movement feel completely natural.

Made by Iceland-based Ossur, the Proprio Foot recently concluded a 14-month period of testing by two individuals, Gudmundur Olafsson and David Ingvasson. The results have been so good that they’re now moving into large-scale clinical trials before going into production within the next five years.

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4 Responses

  1. Maddie

    This is amazing. I love seeing things like this that can help those who really need it, such as the disabled. If we have this, imagine what we could have in a decade. Incredible!

  2. William

    This is a really exciting innovation in technology! As both a Veteran myself, as well as someone who works with fellow veterans, I’d really love to see this implemented as a technology for Veterans to utilize, protected or covered by the VA system and government healthcare. After all, they are Americas Heroes and have made the ultimate sacrifices.

    With this technology, it seems like the skies are the limits in terms of what the next developing technology will be like. My brother is an Iraqi War Veteran and lost half of his middle-finger during his second deployment. I’d love to see him have the pleasure and happiness of acquiring a flesh-colored upper-half to his finger so that he can have back what he might feel physically or psychologically was taken away from him. What do the charging periods look like for this Technology? It is going to be daily, or could it be weekly? The more convenient the better, but then again it sure does appear as though you’re getting quite a lot of quality performance, durability, and dependability in this product.

  3. amy

    wow this is incredible! does it allow you to modify the size, width, or sustainability of it once installed or being used? how do prosthetics like this allow you to modify it’s size or feel? i love how it interacts with the wearers muscles, its amazing how far technology and science have come!

  4. michaela

    if this was covered by medical insurance at the VA i would request one. does this mean that soon there will be technology like this for other limbs and purposes too? how long will the power last on one of these, and how hard or easy is it to get on and off? do we know if theres been reviews or tests published yet? id like to see and find out how accurate the mind to muscle to mechanical interactions are.


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