A Toronto researcher has designed a low-cost bionic knee that he hopes will dramatically change the lives of amputees in the developing world.
Jan Andrysek's design is simpler and cheaper than a regular prosthetic and can be used in wet and sandy climates.
"Our technology just enables life," Andrysek told CBC News. "It allows people who are doing OK, and sometimes not so much OK, to actually live life as they can...Most individuals with amputations can do pretty much anything given the right rehabilitation."
The researcher with the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre expects his prosthetic to cost a couple of hundred dollars, compared to thousands of dollars for a traditional replacement leg.
Andrysek's bionic leg and knee, which he has been working on for six years, won a $100,000 research grant from Grand Challenges Canada earlier this month. The award money will help introduce the bionic knee to Canada and developing countries in about five years, he said.
Andrysek said he wants to give children and adult amputees in the developing world the ability to walk.
One prosthetist who works with amputees in Toronto says the invention would be very useful in Canada as well.
Shane Glasford said the cost and durability will give Canadians more freedom.
"To have a knee that comes in at the same kind of costs that Jan is projecting gives clients an opportunity for a second device for showers, for jumping in the water, jumping in the lake, that right now they don't really have," he said.