Local teen invents new kind of knee brace

The 15-year-old has taken a normal brace which simply locks and unlocks and has added a motor and mini-computer and turned it into something robotic.

When you injure your leg in something like a car crash, doctors often proscribe braces as a part of the recovery process so that your leg doesn't collapse when you stand up.

But what if we told you a 15-year-old from Friendswood has invented a new kind of technology that does one better?

This student's name is Syamantak Payra and he has taken a normal brace - which simply locks and unlocks - and has added a motor and mini-computer and turned it into something robotic.

Payra says millions around the world lack leg function - either from a disease like multiple sclerosis or a simple ACL surgery.

"Normally the doctor proscribes a kind of brace so you don't want your leg to collapse when you stand up because that would be dangerous," said Payra.

But then he went online to look for a better version for a family friend with polio and couldn't find anything.

"So I said, 'Hey let's make a better alternative. So I said let me take the normal brace and let's add a motor and mini computer and let's turn him into a robot,'" said Payra.

He ran tests first on his friend with polio who said "It almost feels like I'm walking and I hadn't before."

It's the first ever knee-ankle-foot device that assists in walking by bending the knee.

"It's safer," Payra said. "It's less of a strain on the body and it also takes less energy."

His mother Sanjukta couldn't be prouder.

"Age wise, yes he's just 15 but maturity wise, I don't think so. He's really good and very hard-working and he's brilliant," she said.

Payra was honored at the Intel Science Fair earlier this year in Phoenix where he won second place.

He was one of six high school students invited to the White House Frontiers Conference that was hosted by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh where he got to meet President Obama.

But through it all, Payra seems to have a stronger reason for doing what he's doing.

"The root cause or inspiration is trying to help other people and trying to help make the earth a better place for mankind," said Payra.

Payra is working on a patent and seeing where it goes.

He says his version is also considerably cheaper than what's on the market now.


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