Lightweight powered prosthesis - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Project Overview

Development of a Lightweight Powered Lower-limb Prosthesis

Project D4
Lightweight motor used to design a lighter prosthesis.

Lightweight, powerful motors such as this one (shown
next to a quarter to illustrate its small size) designed
for a powered upper-limb prosthesis can be used in
development of a compact, lightweight powered leg.

Objective: To develop a lightweight motorized leg and to evaluate this device in elderly persons with transfemoral (above-knee) amputations during various ambulation activities.

Significance

Powered lower-limb prostheses offer great promise to the approximately one million Americans with a lower-limb amputation whose ambulation is slower, more asymmetric, less stable, and requires more metabolic energy than that of able-bodied individuals. This is particularly true for older individuals who make up over 90% of persons with a lower-limb amputation in the U.S. and who need assistance simply getting out of chairs, off the toilet, and walking the short distances necessary for them to live independently at home.

Transmissions

Transmissions designed for a
powered upper-limb prosthesis
that can be used in the design
of a lightweight powered leg.

Older individuals, who are generally smaller and weaker, need powered legs that are strong enough to help them get out of a chair, yet light enough to walk with—and to not tip them off balance during swing-phase (when the foot is off the ground).

Current motorized leg prostheses, designed to augment the abilities of younger, healthier users, are not well suited for elderly individuals. They are too heavy for the limited stability and strength of older individuals. Our recent successful design for a lightweight upper-limb prosthesis uses innovative motors and transmissions that have exciting potential for the design of a lightweight lower-limb device.

Target Population

Elderly individuals with a lower-limb amputation. A lightweight powered prosthesis would enable these individuals to maintain independence. Additionally, such a device may also be useful for other smaller individuals, including women and children.

Resources & Statistics

Statistics

Resources & Organizations

Amputee Coalition

RIC Life Center

UnLIMBited Potential (RIC Support Group)

Articles

New Prosthetic Design Focuses on Femininity (O&P Business News, March 2013)

J. W. Sensinger, S. D. Clark, and J. F. Schorsch, "Exterior vs. Interior Rotors in Robotic Brushless Motors," presented at the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, Shanghai, China, 2011.

J. W. Sensinger and J. H. Lipsey, "Cycloid vs. Harmonic Drives for use in High Ratio, Single Stage Robotic Transmissions," presented at the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, St. Paul, MN, 2012.

News

We will update this page periodically with project news.

RESNA Conference June 2014

RESNA Conference

TEAMM members presented at the annual Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) conference, held this year in Indianapolis from June 11-15. View their presentations on various TEAMM projects here.

Interview with Dr. Levi Hargrove (April 2014)

Discovery News interviewed RIC's Dr. Levi Hargrove about prosthetic advancements in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which left 16 individuals without limbs. Those survivors include women who are in need of lighter prostheses.

Dr. Hargrove is director of the Neural Engineering for Prosthetics and Orthotics Laboratory within the Center for Bionic Medicine at RIC.

Read the full interview with him here.

Project Staff


Todd Kuiken, MD, PhDTodd A. Kuiken
, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator. Dr. Kuiken is director of the Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM) within the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. At CBM, Dr. Kuiken leads an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, prosthetists, therapists, neuroscientists, engineers, software developers, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. He received his BS in biomedical engineering from Duke University, and his MD and PhD degrees from Northwestern University.

Jim LipseyJim Lipsey, MS, PE, Engineering Project Leader. Mr. Lipsey is an engineering manager at the Center for Bionic Medicine. As engineering manager, he is responsible for long-term planning and day-to-day execution in developing complex electromechanical systems; hiring and managing team members; defining internal processes; and technical mentoring. He received his BE and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Jon SensingerJon Sensinger, PhD, Collaborator. Formerly with the Center for Bionic Medicine, Dr. Sensinger is currently Associate Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick. His research interests include body-powered and robotic prosthesis design and control, with a specific interest in developing-world applications. He focuses on clinically relevant, low cost/weight systems. Dr. Sensinger received his PhD in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University.

Additional staff members: Tommaso Lenzi, PhD; Jeremy Newkirk, PhD; Tom Pickerill; Tom Sharkey, BSME.

This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, grant number H133E130020.