By Rosie Powers
Randy Earl, who's been an amputee for over 20 years, is one of the first patients in Chicago to be fitted with a BiOM bionic ankle at Scheck and Siress prosthetic clinic in Oak Park.
Earl suffered extensive injuries to his right leg and arm after a work-related accident over 20 years ago. Although he has tested many prosthetic technologies at Scheck and Siress, he expressed great satisfaction with the new bionic ankle's realistic feel.
iWalk's BiOM ankle currently allows specialists to make adjustments to a patient's prosthetic limb via a mobile app, depending on what activity the patient wants to do. Eventually, iWalk hopes to release the app so that users can make adjustments themselves. iWalk also hopes the technology will allow for faster rehabilitation.
Brian Frasure, director clinical operations at iWalk, says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have lead to an increase in the amount of federal funding for research to develop new prosthetic limb technology. This research has not only benefited veterans of the wars, but other amputees such as Earl.
Now feeling greater mobility, Earl said he will return to his volunteer job at the Shedd Aquarium.