The Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO, a streamlined, energy-storing brace that delivers nearly instantaneous results.
Developed by Ryan Blanck, a leading prosthetic at the state-of-the-art the Center for the Intrepid at Brook Army Medical. The IDEO is a lightweight, streamlined carbon-fiber device that can be tucked under a pant leg and into a boot or sneaker. It comprises a cuff that wraps around the leg just under the knee connected to a footplate by carbon-fiber rods.
The brace works by offloading the limb and allowing the patient to operate the lower limb in a way that avoids pain, he explained. When a service member’s heel strikes, the device stores energy through the gait cycle, then delivers it back to propel the foot forward.
The device is proving a “game-changer” for service members with salvaged limbs, said Johnny Owens, a CFI physical therapist who is working hand-in-hand with Blanck in treating IDEO-fitted warriors. “We’re seeing immediate changes we don’t usually see,” he said. Owens said the device also is highhandedly helping to turn the tide on a trend of wounded warriors opting for delayed amputations — amputations several months after injury. He attributes the trend to the slow, and sometimes frustrating, recovery for troops with lower leg injuries.