Preliminary results on energy efficient 3D prosthetic walking with a powered compliant transfemoral prosthesis
This paper describes a novel cable-driven ankle-foot mechanism with two controllable degrees of freedom (DOF) in dorsiflexion-plantarflexion (DP) and inversion-eversion (IE). The presented mechanism is a proof of concept to demonstrate feasibility. Ankle kinematic measurements demonstrate that ankle IE rotations during a step turn are significantly different from walking on a straight path. This suggests that the ankle-foot mechanisms used in prostheses, exoskeletons, and bipedal robots can be improved by controlling a second degree of freedom in the frontal plane. The proposed prototype mechanism is described in detail, and its design considerations and parameters are presented. The mechanism is capable of producing trajectories similar to the human ankle during a step turn. The device shows passive mechanical impedance close to the human ankle mechanical impedance, allowing its mechanical impedance to be controlled using an impedance controller. The presented mechanism is capable of providing key mechanical characteristics similar to the human ankle, including power, range of motion, and weight, suggesting the feasibility of this design concept.