Design Innovation Paper

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

[+] Author and Article Information
Fei Gao

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

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.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Schimmels, M. J. , and Huang, S. G. , 2014, “Passive Ankle Prosthesis With Energy Return Simulating That of a Natural Ankle,” U.S. Patent No. 8,721,737. https://patents.google.com/patent/US8721737
Hafner, J. B. , Sanders, E. J. , Czerniecki, M. J. , and John, F. , 2002, “Transtibial Energy-Storage-and-Return Prosthetic Devices: A Review of Energy Concepts and a Proposed Nomenclature,” J. Rehabil. Res. Dev., 39(1), pp. 1–11. https://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/02/39/1/pdf/Hafner.pdf [PubMed]
Copilusi, C. , Dumitru, N. , Rusu, L. , and Marin, M. , 2010, “Cam Mechanism Kinematic Analysis Used in a Human Ankle Prosthesis Structure,” World Congress on Engineering (WCE), London, June 30–July 2, pp. 1316–1320. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/95ee/f5a8a03dc1a431641eb9276dab7918cfbc68.pdf
Koniuk, W. , 2002, “Self-Adjusting Prosthetic Ankle Apparatus,” U.S. Patent No. 6,443,993. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6443993
Li, C. , Tokuda, M. , Furusho, J. , Koyanagi, K. I. , Morimoto, S. , Hashimoto, Y. , Nakagawa, A. , and Akazawa, Y. , 2006, “Research and Development of the Intelligently-Controlled Prosthetic Ankle Joint,” IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation, Luoyang, China, June 25–28, pp. 1114–1119.
Martin, J. J. , 2006, “Electronically Controlled Prosthetic System,” U.S. Patent No. 7,029,500. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7029500
Zhu, J. , Wang, Q. , and Wang, L. , 2014, “On the Design of a Powered Transtibial Prosthesis With Stiffness Adaptable Ankle and Toe Joints,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., 61(9), pp. 4797–4807. [CrossRef]
Martin, G. , 2015, “Powered Lower Limb Prostheses,” Ph.D. dissertation, Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, Germany. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272484378_Powered_Lower_Limb_Prostheses
Au, S. K. , and Herr, H. , 2008, “Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis,” Rob. Autom. Mag., (3), pp. 52–59.
Pierre, C. , Victor, G. , Arnout, M. , Bram, V. , and Dirk, L. , 2014, “Design and Validation of the Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic (AMP-) Foot 2.0,” IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil. Eng., 22(1), pp. 138–148. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hitt, J. , Merlo, J. , Johnston, J. , Holgate, M. , Boehler, A. , Hollander, K. , and Sugar, T. , 2010, “Bionic Running for Unilateral Transtibial Military Amputees,” Defense Technical Information Center, Fort Belvoir, VA, Technical Report No. 0704-0188. http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA532485
Bergelin, B. J. , and Voglewede, P. A. , 2012, “Design of an Active Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Utilizing a Four-Bar Mechanism,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 134(6), p. 061004. [CrossRef]
Gao, F. , Liao, W. H. , Chen, B. , Ma, H. , and Qin, L. Y. , 2015, “Design of Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Driven by Parallel Elastic Actuator,” IEEE 14th International Conference Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Singapore, Aug. 11–14, pp. 374–379.
Gao, F. , Liu, Y. N. , and Liao, W. H. , 2016, “A New Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis With Compact Parallel Spring Mechanism,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO), Qingdao, China, Dec. 3–7, pp. 473–478.
Dong, D. , Ge, W. , Liu, S. , Xia, F. , and Sun, Y. , 2017, “Design and Optimization of a Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Using a Geared Five-Bar Spring Mechanism,” Int. J. Adv. Rob. Syst., 14(3), pp. 1–12.
Realmuto, J. , Glenn, K. , and Santosh, D. , 2015, “Nonlinear Passive Cam-Based Springs for Powered Ankle Prostheses,” ASME J. Med. Devices, 9(1), p. 011007. [CrossRef]
Rene, J. F. , Joost, G. , Louis, F. , Bram, V. , and Dirk, L. , 2017, “Reduction of the Torque Requirements of an Active Ankle Prosthesis Using a Parallel Spring,” Rob. Auton. Syst., 92, pp. 187–196. [CrossRef]
Au, S. K. , Weber, J. , and Herr, H. , 2009, “Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Improves Walking Metabolic Economy,” IEEE Trans. Rob., 25(1), pp. 51–66. [CrossRef]
Herr, H. M. , and Grabowski, A. M. , 2012, “Bionic Ankle–Foot Prosthesis Normalizes Walking Gait for Persons With Leg Amputation,” Proc. R. Soc. B., 279(1728), pp. 457–464. [CrossRef]
Koganezawa, K. , and Kato, I. , 1987, Control Aspects of Artificial Leg, IFAC Control Aspects of Biomedical Engineering, Oxford, UK, pp. 71–85.
Pratt, G. A. , and Matthew, M. W. , 1995, “Series Elastic Actuators,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Human Robot Interaction and Cooperative Robots, Pittsburgh, PA, Aug. 5–9, pp. 399–406.
Grimmer, M. , Eslamy, M. , Gliech, S. , and Seyfarth, A. , 2012, “A Comparison of Parallel- and Series Elastic Elements in an Actuator for Mimicking Human Ankle Joint in Walking and Running,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Saint Paul, MN, May 14–18, pp. 2463–2470.
Eslamy, M. , Grimmer, M. , and Seyfarth, A. , 2012, “Effects of Unidirectional Parallel Springs on Required Peak Power and Energy in Powered Prosthetic Ankles: Comparison Between Different Active Actuation Concepts,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO), Guangzhou, China, Dec. 11–14, pp. 2406–2412.
Eiberger, O. , Haddadin, S. , Weis, M. , Albu-Schäffer, A. , and Hirzinger, G. , 2010, “On Joint Design With Intrinsic Variable Compliance: Derivation of the DLR QA-Joint,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Anchorage, AK, May 3–7, pp. 1687–1694.
Wolf, S. , Oliver, E. , and Gerd, H. , 2011, “The DLR FSJ: Energy Based Design of a Variable Stiffness Joint,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Shanghai, China, May 9–13, pp. 5982–5089.
Petit, F. , Friedl, W. , Höppner, H. , and Grebenstein, M. , 2015, “Analysis and Synthesis of the Bidirectional Antagonistic Variable Stiffness Mechanism,” IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics, 20(2), pp. 684–695. [CrossRef]
Nam, K. H. , Kim, B. S. , and Song, J. B. , 2010, “Compliant Actuation of Parallel-Type Variable Stiffness Actuator Based on Antagonistic Actuation,” J. Mech. Sci. Technol., 24(11), pp. 2315–2321. [CrossRef]
Hyun, D. , Yang, H. S. , Park, J. , and Shim, Y. , 2010, “Variable Stiffness Mechanism for Human-Friendly Robots,” Mech. Mach. Theory, 45(6), pp. 880–897. [CrossRef]
Gates, D. H. , 2004, “Characterizing Ankle Function During Stair Ascent, Descent, and Level Walking for Ankle Prosthesis and Orthosis Design,” Master thesis, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
Joy, K. I. , 2000, “Quadratic Bezier Curves,” University of California, Davis, CA.
Sup, F. , Varol, H. A. , Mitchell, J. , Withrow, T. J. , and Goldfarb, M. , 2009, “Preliminary Evaluations of a Self-Contained Anthropomorphic Transfemoral Prosthesis,” IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics, 14(6), pp. 667–676. [CrossRef]
Au, S. , Berniker, M. , and Herr, H. , 2008, “Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis to Assist Level-Ground and Stair-Descent Gaits,” Neural Networks, 21(4), pp. 654–666. [CrossRef] [PubMed]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

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

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Design of cam-spring mechanism for achieving desired behavior

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Design of spring torque versus angle curve for parallel spring mechanism

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

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

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Geometric model of the cam-spring mechanism

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

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

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

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

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Experimental setup for testing the cam-spring mechanism

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Measured torque versus angle curve in the cam-spring mechanism

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Unilateral below-knee amputee walk with the developed prosthesis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Measured angle, torque, and power of the developed prosthesis



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In