Chatham woman first in world with revolutionary ‘smart’ bionic ankle

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CHICAGO -- Eight years ago surgery brought relief to Vernita Jefferson. A prosthetic leg brought her mobility back -- but she faced a whole new set of unexpected struggles.

Jefferson couldn’t get into pants; she struggled at movie theatres and in church with her fixed ankle prosthetic always angled in the aisles.

That all changed six weeks ago when the 74-year-old Chatham woman became the first in the world to use a Triton smart ankle.

Not only does Jefferson’s new bionic ankle allow her foot to flex 34 degrees, it senses and adjusts to the different surfaces on which she strolls – data which is recorded and stored in an app on her phone.

Because the technology adjusts with different surfaces, Jefferson says the fit of her new foot is always comfortable. She is building muscles in her leg she didn’t use before. She can point her toe to put on pants, and sit with her feet flat on the floor.

But likely her favorite feature is her Bluetooth-enabled app, with which Jefferson can select the heel height she wants to wear, up to two inches, and the ankle automatically adjusts to accommodate it.

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