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Actuators 2014, 3(1), 1-19; doi:10.3390/act3010001
Article

Energetic and Peak Power Advantages of Series Elastic Actuators in an Actuated Prosthetic Leg for Walking and Running

* ,
 and
Lauflabor Locomotion Laboratory, Institute of Sports Science, TU Darmstadt, Magdalenenstr. 27, Darmstadt 64289, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 6 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Centered Actuators)
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Abstract

A monoarticular series elastic actuator (SEA) reduces energetic and peak power requirements compared to a direct drive (DD) in active prosthetic ankle-foot design. Simulation studies have shown that similar advantages are possible for the knee joint. The aims of this paper were to investigate the advantages of a monoarticular SEA-driven hip joint and to quantify the energetic benefit of an SEA-driven leg (with monoarticular hip, knee and ankle SEAs), assuming that damping (negative power) is passively achieved. The hip SEA provided minor energetic advantages in walking (up to 29%) compared to the knee and the ankle SEA. Reductions in required peak power were observed only for speeds close to preferred walking speed (18% to 27%). No energetic advantages were found in running, where a DD achieved the best performance when optimizing for energy. Using an SEA at each leg joint in the sagittal plane reduced the positive work by 14% to 39% for walking and by 37% to 75% for running. When using an SEA instead of a DD, the contribution of the three leg joints to doing positive work changed: the knee contributed less and the hip more positive work. For monoarticular SEAs, the ankle joint motor did most of the positive work.
Keywords: series elastic actuator; prosthetics; human; walking; running; peak power; energy; joint work series elastic actuator; prosthetics; human; walking; running; peak power; energy; joint work
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Grimmer, M.; Eslamy, M.; Seyfarth, A. Energetic and Peak Power Advantages of Series Elastic Actuators in an Actuated Prosthetic Leg for Walking and Running. Actuators 2014, 3, 1-19.

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