As Joseph Dickens took his first steps up and down the sloped parking lot of Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics in Meridian Thursday, he was walking on a state-of-the-art bio powered ankle.
Compared to other prosthetics that he has worn, this one allows him to walk over terrain more naturally, and also helps him walk further.
"The advantage for the user is really in the energy expenditure, so they're expending less energy to walk a particular distance," said Chris Wallace of Methodist Rehab Center. "The other real advantage for them is uneven terrain, hills, ramps, obstacles that we encounter every day, allows the user to overcome those obstacles more easily."
This technology could be the way of the future as it becomes more readily available.
"We're seeing a lot of changes in orthotic and prosthetic technology in recent years in light of current events in Iraq and Afghanistan and other conflicts," Wallace said. "And this is a result of some of those improvements as well. So we certainly think this technology will continue to trickle down to more users and become more broadly available. I'm very excited about that possibility."
With this new bionic technology, Dickens is hoping it will enable him to return to daily activities that we take for granted.
"It's like driving a Ferrari after driving a Cadillac, you know what I mean? Or a Yugo, or whatever," said Dickens. "It's got that big of a difference. I love it. As it is now, it feels great. I'm hoping it continues to feel great. But I mean, it's something that we'll have to see. I don't know if i can just jump back into work or what; we'll have to see how it goes. But yes, I would love to go back to work, and playing with my kids, and anything normal. And this gives me the chance that I hadn't had before."