Fast Tracking Prosthetic Feet

(Photograph by Jian Ming Chan)

Associate Professor Peter Lee, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and a team of final year biomedical engineering students have been developing prosthetic feet that are more durable and less susceptible to breaking.

A combination of land mines in recent war-afflicted regions, industrial and environmental accidents, terrorist attacks and poor quality public health, in developing nations has resulted in a growing need for low-cost artificial limbs. Associate Professor Lee and his students have been researching different kinds of low-cost artificial limbs, culminating in an annual field trip to areas of need such as Cambodia and Vietnam.

One of the great benefits of working in the field is the way the findings inform future research. For example, in 2009, students who had designed a low-cost prosthetic knee reported that a larger problem in Cambodia were structural faults in prosthetic foot design. As a result, in 2010, students focused on designing a more durable prosthetic foot. In the field, these students found the prosthetic foot design issues were related to the weight and the ability of the polypropylene keel to adhere to the surrounding rubber. This issue can now be studied in the mechanical engineering lab, and improvements to the design can then be taken out on the next field trip in 2011.

For more details read “Fast Tracking Prosthetic Feet”, by Gabrielle Murphy, the Voice, Vol 7, No 2, 2011 and read the transcript, “Low Cost Prosthetic Feet for Cambodia”, Innovations, ABC Radio Australia, 2 April 2011.


Cosmonaut to talk at School of Engineering

cosmonautFamous Russian Cosmonaut, Alexander Ivanchenkov will visit the University of Melbourne on Wednesday March 2 to discuss his life and career in space exploration.

Mr Ivanchenkov is visiting Melbourne as part of the Russian delegation to the Avalon 2011 Air Show.

Mr Ivanchenkov is a cosmonaut of the first class, twice Hero of the Soviet Union (1978, 1982) and has received a long list of honours including a Tsiolkovskiy Gold Medal by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

In 1978, Mr Ivanchenkov went into orbit on board Soyuz-29 spacecraft, and made a record 140-day flight on board Salut-6 orbital station.  During that flight, he went into outer space for 2 hours and 5 minutes.

He will be speaking to students and staff at 3.00pm on Wednesday March 2 at the Brown Lecture Theatre, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Building (building 193).

RSVP to Natasha Baxter is essential.


150 years of Engineering at Melbourne

By Jennifer Thomas

The University of Melbourne’s Chancellor and Victoria’s Governor-elect the Hon. Alex Chernov, AO, QC launched the anniversary of 150 years of engineering education at the Melbourne School of Engineering last night.

At the launch Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis talked about how much the School had grown from 15 part-time students and one academic in 1861, to a community drawn from over 100 countries, with a network of nearly 25,000 alumni. Today the School is acknowledged nationally and internationally for excellence in engineering and technology research and education.

Continue reading “150 years of Engineering at Melbourne”


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