UCL News


Press cutting: Coming Soon - The Bionic Man

15 December 2006

As prosthetics quickly grow more complicated, some researchers are looking for better ways to attach them to the body, in a semipermanent manner.

Gordon W Blunn, a professor of biomedical engineering at UCL, announced in June that he had found a way to allow titanium rods to be anchored to bones and then to pass through the skin without the risk of infection.

"Essentially we looked at the way antlers work," he says, adding that they are one of the few natural analogs where bone passes through skin. His team was able to mimic the properties of the relevant dermal cells in deer, creating a specially coated porous structure that, after a year of clinical trials, appears impervious to infection.

Mr Blunn uses the technique to give patients who have lost parts of fingers semipermanent silicon replacements that are robustly anchored to their bones. In the future, it could allow bionic limbs to be securely attached to the body, avoiding the discomfort associated with wearing prosthetics, particularly legs.

Colin Woodard, 'The Chronicle of Higher Education'