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.
The Genium X3 Knee has been compared to a luxury sports car. Sophisticated sensor and microprocessor technologies make navigating challenging terrains routine. Fully waterproof and highly resistant to dust, dirt, corrosion, etc., it is ideal for outdoor activities. It’s only major drawback is cost.
Ossur’s Rheo Knee XC is the premium version of its sister product, the Rheo Knee. Added features include the ability to transition more quickly from walking to running and from walking to bicycling. Users can also ascend stairs step-over-step and navigate obstacles with more stability and safety.
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 latest version of Nabtesco’s Allux Knee (Allux 2) was launched in the U.S. in June 2017. Now distributed by Proteor USA, the Allux has some interesting features, especially its use of a 4-bar linkage system. But can it compete with its more established competitors?
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 bionic feet/ankles, see Current Options for Bionic Feet.
For more information on lower-limb bionics in general, see Understanding Bionic Legs & Feet.