Lightweight powered knee prostheses

Themes: Robotics

Early lab scale demonstration

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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A light powered knee prosthesis enables the user to perform more active motions, such as climbing stairs in a physiological way.


An ANGle-dependent ELAstic Actuator (ANGELAA) can be the mechatronic principle to achieve this. Profiles of knee stiffness and moment requirement as function of knee angle (instead of maximum values) are used as design requirements, and matched by a nonlinear series (visco-) elastic actuator.


A pilot experiment with an amputee subject showed the feasibility of the approach. While weight and power consumption have not yet been optimized in the prototype, the mechatronic principles and control were proven successful.

Ir. Heike Vallery


Ir. Joost van der Weijde