Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

    Design and Evaluation of a Smooth-Locking-Based Customizable Prosthetic Knee Joint

    Abstract

    Limb loss affects many people from a variety of backgrounds around the world. The most advanced commercially available prostheses for transfemoral amputees are fully active (powered) designs but remain very expensive and unavailable in the developing world. Consequently, improvements of low-cost, passive prostheses have been made to provide high-quality rehabilitation to amputees of any background. This study explores the design and evaluation of a smooth-locking-based bionic knee joint to replicate the swing phase of the human gait cycle. The two-part design was based on the condyle geometry of the interface between the femur and tibia obtained from magnetic resonance (MR) images of the human subject, while springs were used to replace the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. A flexible four-bar linkage mechanism was successfully achieved to provide not only rotation along a variable instantaneous axis but also slight translation in the sagittal plane, similar to the anatomical knee. We systematically evaluated the effects of different spring configurations in terms of stiffness, position, and relaxion length on knee flexion angles during walking. A good replication of the swing phase was achieved by relatively high stiffness and increased relaxation length of springs. The stance phase of the gait cycle was improved compared to some models but remained relatively flat, where further verification should be conducted. In addition, 3D printing technique provides a convenient design and manufacturing process, making the prosthesis customizable for different individuals based on subject-specific modeling of the amputee’s knee.

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    Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues