The Challenges and Achievements of Experimental Implementation of an Active Transfemoral Prosthesis Based on Biological Quasi-Stiffness: The CYBERLEGs Beta-Prosthesis.

Research paper by Louis L Flynn, Joost J Geeroms, Rene R Jimenez-Fabian, Sophie S Heins, Bram B Vanderborght, Marko M Munih, Raffaele R Molino Lova, Nicola N Vitiello, Dirk D Lefeber

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Frontiers in neurorobotics


The CYBERLEGs Beta-Prosthesis is an active transfemoral prosthesis that can provide the full torque required for reproducing average level ground walking at both the knee and ankle in the sagittal plane. The prosthesis attempts to produce a natural level ground walking gait that approximates the joint torques and kinematics of a non-amputee while maintaining passively compliant joints, the stiffnesses of which were derived from biological quasi-stiffness measurements. The ankle of the prosthesis consists of a series elastic actuator with a parallel spring and the knee is composed of three different systems that must compliment each other to generate the correct joint behavior: a series elastic actuator, a lockable parallel spring and an energy transfer mechanism. Bench testing of this new prosthesis was completed and demonstrated that the device was able to create the expected torque-angle characteristics for a normal walker under ideal conditions. The experimental trials with four amputees walking on a treadmill to validate the behavior of the prosthesis proved that although the prosthesis could be controlled in a way that allowed all subjects to walk, the accurate timing and kinematic requirements of the output of the device limited the efficacy of using springs with quasi-static stiffnesses. Modification of the control and stiffness of the series springs could provide better performance in future work.