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Title: Design and Validation of a Powered Knee–Ankle Prosthesis With High-Torque, Low-Impedance Actuators
In this article, we present the design of a powered knee–ankle prosthetic leg, which implements high-torque actuators with low-reduction transmissions. The transmission coupled with a high-torque and low-speed motor creates an actuator with low mechanical impedance and high backdrivability. This style of actuation presents several possible benefits over modern actuation styles in emerging robotic prosthetic legs, which include free-swinging knee motion, compliance with the ground, negligible unmodeled actuator dynamics, less acoustic noise, and power regeneration. Benchtop tests establish that both joints can be backdriven by small torques ( ∼ 1–3 N ⋅ m) and confirm the small reflected inertia. Impedance control tests prove that the intrinsic impedance and unmodeled dynamics of the actuator are sufficiently small to control joint impedance without torque feedback or lengthy tuning trials. Walking experiments validate performance under the designed loading conditions with minimal tuning. Finally, the regenerative abilities, low friction, and small reflected inertia of the presented actuators reduced power consumption and acoustic noise compared to state-of-the-art powered legs.
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Award ID(s):
1637704 1854898
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1 to 20
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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