Orthotic Prosthetics Using Active Mechanical Systems

Irwin, Jacob (2018) Orthotic Prosthetics Using Active Mechanical Systems. [USQ Project]


The Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthotic (KAFO) is a device used to help people with deficiencies in the muscular strength associated with the knee joint necessary for walking. A KAFO is an unpowered device that is often used where crutches would be necessary, it operates by 'locking' into place while the wearer’s leg is straight to support their bodyweight. Due to the current design of these orthotics the wearer is unable to sufficiently achieve stable gait on downward sloping surfaces therefore, the purpose of this research project was to determine whether a simple locking mechanism added to the knee joint of a KAFO would increase gait performance under these conditions.

An accessory that attaches to a standard KAFO that utilises the uncompressible nature of fluids to achieve the 'locking' functionality at the angles necessary for sloped surfaces gait was developed. An experiment with one participant was performed to determine if this system showed any improvement in the test subject’s gait stability ratio (GSR) while undergoing level and both upward and downward sloped walking. The test subject’s walking was recorded using a 240Hz high speed camera and a pared t-Test was used to compare the differences seen in the test subject’s gait performance.

An improvement in the test subject’s GSR was seen during downward sloping surfaces gait using the modification however, during upward sloping and level surfaces gait the results showed a decrease in gait performance. The changes seen in the test subject’s gait performance were statistically shown (>95% certainty) to be a result of the modification to the orthotic. The decrease in gait performance is thought to be due to the increased impedance the modification to the KAFO added to the test subject’s movements.

It has been found that this simple locking mechanism helped a KAFO wearer achieve an improvement in gait stability while walking down a sloped surface. These results warrant further research into this area of study with a larger group of KAFO users and a system that allows 'locking' without impeding the wearer’s movements.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Snook, Chris
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronic)
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2022 23:21
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 01:45
Uncontrolled Keywords: Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthotic (KAFO); orthotic prosthetic; mechanical system
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40680

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