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New Publication: Development and Evaluation of a Prosthetic Ankle Emulator With an Artificial Soleus and Gastrocnemius

Posted by on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 in Uncategorized.



In individuals with transtibial limb loss, a contributing factor to mobility-related challenges is the disruption of biological calf muscle function due to transection of the soleus and gastrocnemius. Powered prosthetic ankles can restore primary function of the mono-articular soleus muscle, which contributes to ankle plantarflexion. In effect, a powered ankle acts like an artificial soleus (AS). However, the biarticular gastrocnemius connection that simultaneously contributes to ankle plantarflexion and knee flexion torques remains missing, and there are currently no commercially available prosthetic ankles that incorporate an artificial gastrocnemius (AG). The goal of this work is to describe the design of a novel emulator capable of independently controlling artificial soleus and gastrocnemius behaviors for transtibial prosthesis users during walking. To evaluate the emulator’s efficacy in controlling the artificial gastrocnemius behaviors, a case series walking study was conducted with four transtibial prosthesis users. Data from this case series showed that the emulator exhibits low resistance to the user’s leg swing, low hysteresis during passive spring emulation, and accurate force tracking for a range of artificial soleus and gastrocnemius behaviors. The emulator presented in this paper is versatile and can facilitate experiments studying the effects of various artificial soleus and gastrocnemius dynamics on gait or other movement tasks. Using this system, it is possible to address existing knowledge gaps and explore a wide range of artificial soleus and gastrocnemius behaviors during gait and potentially other activities of daily living.