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

Lauflabor Locomotion Laboratory, Institute of Sports Science, TU Darmstadt, Magdalenenstr. 27, Darmstadt 64289, Germany
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Actuators 2014, 3(1), 1-19; https://doi.org/10.3390/act3010001
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)
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. View Full-Text
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
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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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