Be All You Can Be: Linx Limb System

Posted on 03 July 2023

Back in the 1980’s, the United States Army devised a provocative and inspiring recruiting slogan that worked so successfully for more than 20 years that they recently brought it out of retirement (in March 2023) and put it back to work.

Once ranked among the 20 greatest ad campaigns of all time, the “Be All You Can Be” invitation moved thousands to ‘find their futures’ in the Army—and the simple catchphrase still stirs listeners to dream of possibilities made achievable with just a bit of training, guidance and support. 

With or without the help of the Army to motivate us, the dream of most people is to achieve our highest potential; to overcome and rise beyond the simply doable to the extraordinary and superlative. We embrace this challenge by enlisting experienced and knowledgeable advisors and teachers, and equipping ourselves appropriately to be all we can be.

If you’ve experienced lower limb loss or amputation, accepting this challenge and achieving your fullest potential depends on your choice of the most appropriate prosthesis to support your effort.

Linx, winner of multiple awards for design and innovation, is the world’s only fully integrated limb system: a prosthetic leg that is microprocessor controlled from knee to foot. It’s the first prosthesis to offer separate microprocessors in the knee and the ankle—and to control them both with one single software program that coordinates their input. This makes it possible for them to effectively “talk” to each other and compare notes, then make performance-optimising split-second decisions faster than thought.

 The Linx wearer can walk without consciously considering how to position and place the leg and foot, since the knee and ankle microprocessors are collecting and analysing input and responding in a ‘natural’ manner. The foot and ankle flex more fully and responsively than previous systems, and provide ramp assist plus more secure, flat-footed support on ramps and stairs. Foot and knee movement are managed for better comfort, confidence and safety on any terrain—including ramps, hills, curbs, and stairs.

Its magic lies in that effortless collaboration that unifies two separate ‘brains’ and makes Linx a harmoniously blended whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Working as one Limb, Linx delivers an experience that mimics the miraculously complex structure of the human leg by actively sensing and analysing oceans of input in split seconds—data on the user’s movement, activity, environment, and terrain—and streaming instantaneous instructions to the hydraulic support system, so the leg responds reflexively to external stimuli in a manner that mimics natural walking. The result is a walking experience unlike any other, and closer to nature than ever before. 

How does it DO that?

Linx’s Inertial Measurement Unit enables situational awareness by sensing movement and speed, so it can respond appropriately, in real-time.

Its superpowers include five levels of stance resistance that optimise safety at all times and in a full menu of situations, from Controlled Stance Support and Standing Support to Dynamic Slope and Stair Descent, Stumble Recovery, and Supported Sitting.

From casual strolling to a brisk walk, microprocessor-controlled pneumatics ensure natural energy-efficient motion and a smooth swing at a variety of speeds, employing features like Optimal Stance Release, Adaptive Speed Control, and Terminal Swing Damping.

Linx wearers report that the computer system built into the foot allows a smoother walk, which feels more secure when it contacts the ground or floor.

Linx: A triumph of engineering that makes you the winner

“Because of my job being a personal trainer,” says one Linx wearer, “I have to be very agile; I have to be able to be in line with my clients. I have to challenge them, which also challenges me.”

As a successful contender for the title of Mr. England, “I have to walk in front of the world media, and I have to present myself to be very able, and not disabled,” he explains, “—which is why having the best limb is so important to me.  Linx gives me that ability to be able to stand up for long periods of time because it means I can put weight through both legs.”

On steeply sloping terrain, as well, he notes, “...with Linx, I’ve got full trust, which means I can keep my centre of gravity nice and still without any pain. It also means that when we’re going for walks, the toe lifts as the knee bends. If you don’t catch it quite right, there’s a stumble mode. The resistance kicks in and it stops you from falling over.”

Linx also coordinates and adjusts his walking speed. The resistance changes, allowing him to accelerate his pace at will.

Boxing has also taught him to trust the leg, he tells us. It’s the best way to push the boundaries of the whole leg from ankle to knee. “I do battle myself; I do challenge my body. And I need Linx to do this.”

Other Linx Voices

From exceptional safety to precision performance to ramp assist to superior comfort, Linx is focused on empowerment, equipping wearers to be and do their best.

“The first time I put Linx on it felt better than anything I’d ever used before,” another wearer recalls. “It’s more intuitive with the way you walk and what you’re actually facing in real-time. You stop thinking about your days because you don’t have to worry about slopes, or stairs because you learn to have confidence in Linx."

“I think once you get that sense of security, if you feel relaxed and secure about its performance, then you won’t really question trying something new.”

“With Linx (under my clothing),” offered another enthusiastic Linx wearer, “I think most people would be hard-pressed to tell that I was an amputee walking with a prosthetic limb. It literally did open up places to me that I’d never been before."

“Whereas for many years I would constantly be scanning the ground ahead, I’ve stopped doing that now; with Linx, I just walk, and that freedom of mind is actually quite liberating. I don’t really have to think about anything that I have to do; I can just get on with my life. This is probably as natural as I’ve ever felt. It’s as close to what I imagine my old limb used to be like."

“I can’t imagine anything superseding this,” he marvels. “It’s excellent.”

Like many scientific advances, the Linx system is not appropriate for everyone; each prosthetic patient should consider the multiple possibilities available to them, with careful thought for their individual requirements.  If you have questions about Linx or other state-of-the-art prosthetic solutions, consult your prosthetist.

By sharing the impressions and experiences of other Linx wearers and providing the most effective possible prosthetic solutions for amputees in pursuit of mobility at every level of need, Blatchford is committed to ensuring that every amputee is equipped to achieve their full potential –to be all they can be.