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Design Innovation Paper

Design of Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis With Nonlinear Parallel Spring Mechanism

[+] Author and Article Information
Fei Gao

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin 999077, NT, Hong Kong
e-mail: fgao2@mae.cuhk.edu.hk

Yannan Liu

Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin 999077, NT, Hong Kong
e-mail: lyn2014hk@gmail.com

Wei-Hsin Liao

Professor
Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin 999077, NT, Hong Kong
e-mail: whliao@cuhk.edu.hk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Innovation and Devices of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received June 22, 2017; final manuscript received January 30, 2018; published online March 9, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Oscar Altuzarra.

J. Mech. Des 140(5), 055001 (Mar 09, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1427; doi: 10.1115/1.4039385 History: Received June 22, 2017; Revised January 30, 2018

In this paper, a powered ankle-foot prosthesis with nonlinear parallel spring mechanism is developed. The parallel spring mechanism is used for reducing the energy consumption and power requirement of the motor, at the same time simplifying control of the prosthesis. To achieve that goal, the parallel spring mechanism is implemented as a compact cam-spring mechanism that is designed to imitate human ankle dorsiflexion stiffness. The parallel spring mechanism can store the negative mechanical energy in controlled dorsiflexion (CD) phase and release it to assist the motor in propelling a human body forward in a push-off phase (PP). Consequently, the energy consumption and power requirements of the motor are both decreased. To obtain this desired behavior, a new design method is proposed for generating the cam profile. Unlike the existing design methods, the friction force is considered here. The cam profile is decomposed into several segments, and each segment is fitted by a quadratic Bezier curve. Experimental results show that the cam-spring mechanism can mimic the desired torque characteristics in the CD phase (a loading process) more precisely. Finally, the developed prosthesis is tested on a unilateral below-knee amputee. Results indicate that, with the assistance of the parallel spring mechanism, the motor is powered off and control is not needed in the CD phase. In addition, the peak power and energy consumption of the motor are decreased by approximately 37.5% and 34.6%, respectively.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Powered ankle-foot prosthesis driven by PEA: (a) schematic diagram and (b) configuration of prosthetic ankle-foot

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Fig. 2

Design of cam-spring mechanism for achieving desired behavior

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Fig. 3

Design of spring torque versus angle curve for parallel spring mechanism

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Fig. 4

Design of powered ankle-foot prosthesis driven by PEA: (a) three-dimensional model and (b) fabricated prototype

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Fig. 5

Geometric model of the cam-spring mechanism

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Fig. 6

Cam profile generating process: (a) segment curve (βi−1 ≤ βi) and (b) segment curve (βi−1 > βi)

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Fig. 7

Cam profile generation: (a) cam profile coordinates, (b) spring deformation, (c) β in Eq. (6), and (d) fabricated cams

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Fig. 8

Experimental setup for testing the cam-spring mechanism

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Fig. 9

Measured torque versus angle curve in the cam-spring mechanism

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Fig. 10

Unilateral below-knee amputee walk with the developed prosthesis

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Fig. 11

Measured angle, torque, and power of the developed prosthesis

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