Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis

Jimmy Day

The human ankle provides a significant amount of net positive work during the stance period of walking, especially at moderate to fast walking speeds. Conversely, conventional ankle-foot prostheses are completely passive during stance, and consequently, cannot provide net positive work. Clinical studies indicate that transtibial amputees using conventional prostheses experience many problems during locomotion, including a high gait metabolism, a low gait speed, and gait asymmetry. Researchers believe the main cause for the observed locomotion is due to the inability of conventional prostheses to provide net positive work during stance. The objective of this project is to develop a powered ankle-foot prosthesis that is capable of providing net positive work during the stance period of walking. To this end, we are investigating the mechanical design and control system architectures for the prosthesis. We are also conducting a clinical evaluation of the proposed prosthesis on different amputee participants.