Design and Preliminary Field Validation of a Fully Passive Prosthetic Knee Mechanism for Users with Transfemoral Amputation in India

[+] Author and Article Information
V.N. Murthy Arelekatti

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Amos G. Winter, V

ASME Member, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039222 History: Received September 20, 2015; Revised December 27, 2017


An estimated 230,000 above-knee amputees in India are currently in need of prosthetic devices, a majority of them facing severe socio-economic constraints. However, only a few passive prosthetic knee devices in the market have been designed for facilitation of normative gait kinematics and for meeting the specific daily life needs of above-knee amputees in the developing world. Based on the results of our past studies, this paper establishes a framework for designing a potentially low-cost, fully passive prosthetic knee device, which aims to facilitate able-bodied kinematics at a low metabolic cost. Based on a comprehensive set of functional requirements, we present an early prototype mechanism for the prosthetic knee joint. The mechanism is implemented using two functional modules: an automatic early stance lock for stability and a differential friction damping system for late stance and swing control. For preliminary validation of the knee mechanism, we carried out a field trial on four above-knee amputees in India, which showed satisfactory performance of the early stance lock. The prototype enabled smooth stance to swing transition by timely initiation of late stance flexion. Possible methods of incorporating an additional spring module for further refinement of the design are also discussed, which can enable flexion-extension during early-stance phase of the gait cycle and further reduce the metabolic energy expenditure of the user.

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