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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K020463/1
Title: A Biomimetic, Self Tuning, Fully Adaptable Smart Lower Limb Prosthetics with Energy Recovery
Principal Investigator: Dehghani-Sanij, Dr AA
Other Investigators:
Querin, Dr OM Messenger, Dr N Stewart, Dr TD
Richardson, Dr RC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2013 Ends: 31 August 2016 Value (£): 618,676
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomechanics & Rehabilitation Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Nov 2012 EPSRC Engineering Research Challenges in Healthcare Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Every year, thousands of people lose a lower limb as a result of a range of factors such as circulatory problems, complications of diabetes or trauma.

Current lower limb prostheses can be divided into three groups: i) Purely passive mechanical and requiring a significant voluntary control effort; ii) Actively controlled in which the limb performance is measured and parameters altered to improve performance; iii) Actively driven, or powered prostheses using actuators to directly input mechanical work into the limb. The latter devices do not take into consideration the dynamic interaction between the body elements and prostheses. As a result, they require large amounts of energy and have low efficiency. Therefore they are not in harmony and synergy with the human body. Hence, there is a need for a new generation of lower limb prostheses which can mimic the human muscle by combining active and passive modes.

The new generation of prostheses should have a plug and play characteristic and the limb would self tune to the current walking situation (level, slopes and stairs) to optimise the system performance to the user. During the walking cycle, the artificial limb will switch between delivering energy to the walking motion to harvesting energy during the swing phase; prolonging battery power and reducing the burden on the batteries.

The aim of this project is to design and develop a new smart lower limb prosthesis through a research programme structured around the following activities.

1) Use of body hub sensors to measure gait dynamics in real time;

2) Use of prosthesis integrated sensors interfaced with the human limb to measure reaction loads during prosthesis use;

3) Estimation of user intent and evaluation of the potential for haptic or other forms of feedback from the prosthesis to enhance its usability;

4) Optimisation of energy use through dynamic coupling and energy generation; and

5) Improvements in limb comfort associated with extended periods of wear.

The outcome of the research will be a step change towards the use of technology in relation to the human body and mobility considering human-machine dynamic interaction. The research outcomes will address a number of healthcare challenges associated with the restoration of mobility in amputees, and paves the way for a new direction in the design and development of devices to support mobility in an aging population and applications such as the rehabilitation of stroke patients. The world's third largest manufacture of prosthetics is in the UK and this research will boost the advancement of the UK position worldwide by providing enhanced opportunities for commercialisation.

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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk