World’s most intelligent prosthetic limb wins MacRobert Award

A team of engineers from Blatchford has been awarded the £50,000 MacRobert Award, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s (RAEng) top innovation prize, for the development of its Linx Limb system, the world’s most advanced prosthetic limb.

Blatchford has developed the first ever prosthetic limb with integrated robotic control of the knee and foot; a system in which the parts work together like a human leg. Where previously lower leg prosthetics wearers have had to plan their days meticulously according to the limitations of terrain they can tackle, the smart robotics in the Linx Limb system constantly monitor and adapt to the wearer's movements and the environment, giving users much greater confidence and freedom.

The MacRobert Award, known for spotting the 'next big thing’, is presented to the engineers behind the UK technology sector's most exciting engineering innovation. The Award, which is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, has previously recognised technologies that have since become ubiquitous, such as the catalytic convertor and the CT scanner, which won the MacRobert Award seven years prior to receiving the Nobel Prize.

Dr Dame Sue Ion, chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “Blatchford has combined a compassionate approach to patient needs with huge ambition and exceptional systems engineering. In doing so, it has created a platform technology that signifies the beginning of the next generation of prosthetics.

“The Linx is helping patients throughout the world by empowering them with the freedom to tackle a much greater variety of terrains with confidence, and reducing the discomfort and costs associated with the problems of wearing prosthetics. The team behind this incredible innovation are true role models who show the positive impact that engineering can have on society.”