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Study and development of articulated ankle prostheses with adaptable compliance and push-off properties

Friday, 18 December, 2009 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Rino Versluys
phd defence

Individuals that walk without pathologies can perform the daily life tasks quite easily.
Unfortunately, there are many others. Clinical gait analysis revealed that transtibial (or
below-knee) amputees walk differently from able-bodied subjects. They compensate for
the loss of a limb by altering their gait pattern, increasing the muscular demand on the
residual joints. This causes gait asymmetries, increased metabolic energy expenditure and
medical pathologies in the long run. Energy-storing-and-returning (ESR) prostheses
provide amputees with a push-off sensation in the late stance phase. Although they are
preferred over conventional prostheses by most amputees, they do not establish humanlike
ankle behavior and are not capable of reducing the increased metabolic energy cost
measured in amputees.

The research work presented in this text is concerned with the development of two
transtibial prostheses that establish able-bodied ankle kinematics and provide the user
with a push-off sensation during walking. The difference between both devices lies in the
way they generate that push-off sensation. One prosthesis uses pleated pneumatic
artificial muscles configured in an antagonistic set-up, the other is passive and uses
mechanical springs. Both prostheses were tested on transtibial amputees.