The microprocessor knee market is expanding with more than 10 knees already on the market and more on their way. This is good news for above-the-knee amputees. Support for activity levels now ranges from K1 users seeking improved safety for indoor mobility to active adventurers who want to run, bicycle, and even swim in the ocean.
Microprocessor knee technology has matured significantly in the past few years with near-universal support for:
- adjusted support throughout the Stance Phase of the gait cycle;
- optimized release points, ground clearance, and proper leg extension in the Swing Phase;
- stumble recovery;
- slopes, ramps, and stairs;
- sitting and standing;
- improved energy efficiency.
…all managed by increasingly sophisticated sensors and microprocessors. In short, microprocessor knees have finally reached the point where they can restore lost capabilities to millions of people. The only drawback is that they are still too expensive.
Below, you will find brief descriptions and links to more detailed articles on the top microprocessor knees currently on the market.
Ossur’s Power Knee is the only bionic knee that augments the user’s residual limb with electric power. This significantly reduces the user’s energy expenditure while also assisting in tasks like standing and ascending stairs. It also helps ensure greater ground clearance during the Swing Phase.
The Plie Knee has some unique features that draw both supporters and detractors. While it still sells at an attractive price, its recent acquisition by Proteor USA, scheduled to close by the end of 2020, justifies a wait-and-see approach by prospective purchasers.
Blatchford’s latest version of the Orion Knee (Orion 3) has closed the technology gap with other leading bionic knees in the same price range. The one remaining question is: do prosthetists trust it as much they do its competitors, especially regarding service and support?
For information on bionic feet/ankles, see Current Options for Bionic Feet.
For a complete description of all current lower-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our comprehensive guide.