Optimization and Evaluation of a Non-Fluid Variable Cadence Controller for an Above-Knee Prosthesis

Fletcher, Mark 1;  Andrysek, Jan 1, 2

1. Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto; 2. Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Many individuals worldwide have extremely limited access to high functioning prosthetic limbs and instead must use simple non-fluid controlled knees that are incapable of achieving normal gait over a wide range of speeds. The objectives of this study are to develop and use a four-speed biomechanical gait model to optimize the design of a variable cadence controller that is comprised of a frictional damping and extension assist component. The optimized controller configuration will also be evaluated in a single subject pilot study. The end goal of this project is to develop a lightweight, low-cost non-fluid controller capable of performing over a range of cadences, enabling amputees without access to more sophisticated devices, to perform at speeds that may be unsafe or difficult using existing technology.