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Design of Mechanism and Preliminary Field Validation of Low-Cost Transfemoral Rotator for Use in the Developing World

[+] Author Affiliations
Matthew L. Cavuto, Matthew Chun, Nora Kelsall, Karl Baranov, Keriann Durgin, V. N. Murthy Arelekatti, Amos G. Winter, V

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Michelle Zhou

Boston University, Boston, MA

Paper No. DETC2016-59913, pp. V05AT07A035; 9 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5A: 40th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5015-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Transfemoral (above-knee) amputees face a unique and challenging set of restrictions to movement and function. Most notably, they are unable to medially rotate their lower-leg and subsequently cross their legs. The best and most common solution to this issue today is a transfemoral rotator, which allows medial rotation of the leg distal to the knee through a lockable turntable mechanism. However, currently available transfemoral rotators can cost thousands of dollars, and few equivalent technologies exist in the developing world. This paper, supported by the results of field studies and user testing, establishes a framework for the design of a low-cost and easily manufacturable transfemoral rotator for use in the developing world. Two prototypes are presented, each with a unique internal locking mechanism and form. A preliminary field study was conducted on six transfemoral amputees in India and qualitative user and prosthetist feedback was collected. Both prototypes successfully allowed all subjects to complete tasks such as crossing legs, putting on pants, and tying shoes while maintaining functionality of walking and standing. Future iterations of the mechanism will be guided by a combination of the most positively received features of the prototypes and general feedback suggestions from the users.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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