Center for Intelligent Mechatronics

Intelligent prosthetic ankles, so you can wear a dress shoe, a running shoe, a flat

From “Smart” prosthetic ankle takes fear out of rough terrain, stairs | Vanderbilt News | Vanderbilt University

Prosthetic ankles available now are static, meaning they don’t anticipate movement and adjust the feet to different terrains. Many users swing the prosthetic leg outward ever so slightly during regular walking to make up for feet that don’t naturally roll through the motion of walking.


The ankle has a tiny motor, actuator, sensors and chip that work together to either conform to the surface the foot is contacting or remain stationary, depending on what the user needs.

Goldfarb said the problem with finding workable prosthetic ankles is so pervasive that many amputees only wear one type of shoe – whichever one works best with their prosthetic.

“Our prosthetic ankle is intelligent, so you can wear a dress shoe, a running shoe, a flat – whatever you’d like – and the ankle adapts,” Goldfarb said. “You can walk up slopes, down slopes, up stairs and down stairs, and the device figures out what you’re doing and functions the way it should.”

Watch the video in the Techcrunch article.