Representative Glenn `GT' Thompson, R-Howard, announced the Department of Defense Appropriations measure includes $2 million in Research, Test, Development, and Evaluation funds for KCF Technologies to further develop and commercialize self-powered prosthetic limb technology.
"The funds will allow for KCF to continue research and development of prosthetics that will improve the quality of life for amputees and improve their ability to return to active military duty", said Thompson, a former rehabilitation therapist.
Current lower limb prosthetic technology has improved dramatically with the invention of computer controlled knee joints. The added functionality aids soldiers in going back to active duty. However, a major drawback of these prostheses is the limited battery life. The funding will allow KCF to develop an energy harvesting device as a component integrated into a lower extremity prosthetic limb. The device will automatically recharge the batteries during normal walking and running activity.
This technology will create an opportunity for production to occur at KCF Technologies located in State College. As a result, KCF estimates significant job growth and additional growth for their regional suppliers and partners.
The project will be directed by the Army. KCF Technologies has additionally partnered with Penn State University's Biomechanics Laboratory and Otto Bock, a world leader in prosthetic technologies. The program will also establish a U.S. focus area in Pennsylvania for prosthetic devices, which currently is based in Western Europe.
"These are the types of partnerships that can spur great economic development. The fact that the research, development and subsequent production will be done right here at home is frankly what we need a lot more of during these tough economic times", added Thompson.
H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2010, which included the funding, must still pass the Senate and signed by the President before becoming law.
Source: KCF Technologies
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