Neurobionics Leg

Motivation

Over one million lower-limb amputees live in the United States, most of whom walk slower while also requiring more energy than non-amputees do. Many research groups around the world are building specialized, lab-specific prostheses, to test new control systems on, resulting in significant investments of time, money, and effort; however, the vast differences in mechanical designs prevent fair comparison and evaluation of control strategies, limiting the impact on amputee quality of life.

We are developing a new robotic leg to provide a robust, inexpensive, modular, and open-source prosthesis to the research community. The Neurobionics Leg will offer a common hardware platform for comparison of control strategies, lower the barrier to entry for prosthesis research, and enable testing within the lab, community, and at home.

Approach

The Neurobionics Leg features high-torque exterior rotor motors initially developed for the drone industry. The transmission consists of belt drives for high efficiency, low cost, and quiet operation. Additionally, the knee prosthesis gives researchers the option to implement series elasticity and select their desired stiffness level. Moreover, the leg does not require precision-machined components and can be easily assembled or disassembled.

Contibutors: Alejandro Azocar, Elliott Rouse

Publications

Azocar, A. F., Mooney, L. M., Hargrove, L. J., & Rouse, E. J. (2018, August). Design and Characterization of an Open-Source Robotic Leg Prosthesis. In 2018 7th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob) (pp. 111-118). IEEE. doi.org/10.1109/BIOROB.2018.8488057