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The SPARKy (Spring Ankle With Regenerative Kinetics) Project: Design and Analysis of a Robotic Transtibial Prosthesis With Regenerative Kinetics

[+] Author Affiliations
Joseph K. Hitt, Ryan Bellman, Matthew Holgate, Thomas G. Sugar

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Kevin W. Hollander

Augspurger-Komm Engineering, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ

Paper No. DETC2007-34512, pp. 1587-1596; 10 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 6th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control, Parts A, B, and C
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 4–7, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4806-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3806-4
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


Even today’s most sophisticated microprocessor controlled ankle-foot prosthetic devices are passive. They lack internal elements that actively generate power, which is required during the “push-off” phase of normal able-bodied walking gait. Consequently, lower limb amputees expend 20–30% more metabolic power to walk at the same speed as able-bodied individuals. Key challenges in the development of an active ankle-foot prosthetic device are the lack of high power and energy densities in current actuator technology. Human gait requires 250W of peak power and 36 Joules of energy per step (80kg subject at 0.8Hz walking rate). Even a highly efficient motor such as the RE75 by Maxon Precision Motors, Inc. rated for 250W continuous power with an appropriate gearbox would weigh 6.6 Kg. This paper presents the first phase of the Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics (SPARKy 1), a multi-phased project funded by the US Army Military Amputee Research Program, which seeks to develop a new generation of powered prosthetic devices based on the Robotic Tendon actuator, that significantly minimizes the peak power requirement of an electric motor and total system energy requirement while providing the amputee enhanced ankle motion and “push-off” power. This paper will present data to show the kinetic advantages of the Robotic Tendon and the electro-mechanical design and analysis of SPARKy 1 that will provide its users with 100% of required “push-off” power and ankle sagittal plane range of motion comparable to able-bodied gait.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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