Bridging the gap between disability and ability: BiOM - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Bridging the gap between disability and ability: BiOM

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The latest technology in prosthetic limbs continues to help bridge the gap between disability and ability with bionic and robotic limbs.

For the last few years BiOM tested its powered prosthetic foot in V.A. Hospitals. Today, 1,000 people have one worldwide -- and one of those people lives on the Central Coast.

"I had my leg amputated August 19, 1992," said Mike Addy who was injured while working a road construction job. "I had a ten ton steel roller fall on my left leg and my right foot.

He tried many prosthetic solutions, but those solutions did not come without other health complications.

"My hip would hurt all the time because I was over compensating," explained Addy.

A few months ago, things changed for Addy.

"We put on Mike a BiOM foot, which is a microprocessor foot with a hydraulic, but it also has motors in it so it can have planter flexion, so it controls the foot going down as well as the foot going up. It can push off and propel him off an incline," said John Hollingsead, Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist.

This means Addy can be more active.

"It does things that no other foot is capable of doing at this point," said Tim Bulgarelli, Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist.

"It is the first powered prosthetic ankle. So in late stance, as the user rolls over the toe, they are getting powered propulsion in the same way they would if they still had their calf muscles," said Stephanie Porter, BiOM.

This is an example of how the latest technology is helping bridge the gap between disability and ability.

"That is what it is all about, making it as real as original," said Addy.

The BiOM foot costs $70,000. The original design came to fruition with grant dollars from the Department of Defense. It was tested in V.A. hospitals and recently became available in the private sector.

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