Andrew P. Murray, Ph.D. and David H. Myszka, Ph.D.
Traditional ankle-foot prostheses often replicate the physiological change in shape of the foot during gait via compliant mechanisms. In comparison, rigid-body feet tend to be simplistic and largely incapable of accurately representing the geometry of the human foot. Multi-segment rigid-body devices offer certain advantages over compliant mechanisms which may be desirable in the design of ankle-foot devices, including the ability to withstand greater loading, the ability to achieve more drastic shape-change, and the ability to be synthesized from their kinematics, allowing for realistic functionality without prior accounting of the complex internal kinetics of the foot. This work focuses on applying methodology of shape-changing kinematic synthesis to design and prototype a multi-segment rigid-body foot device capable of matching the dynamic change in shape of a human foot in gait. Included are discussions of an actuation strategy, mechanical design considerations, limitations, and potential prosthetic design implications of such a foot.
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Rolfe, Tanner N., "Design and Prototyping of a Shape-changing Rigid-body Human Foot in Gait" (2017). Honors Theses. 148.