Date of Award


Degree Type



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Simon, Dan

Subject Headings

mechanical engineering biomedical engineering robotics prosthesis design


The majority of amputations are of the lower limbs. This correlates to a particular need for lower-limb prostheses. Many common prosthesis designs are passive in nature, making them inefficient compared to the natural body. Recently as technology has progressed, interest in powered prostheses has expanded, seeking improved kinematics and kinetics for amputees. The current state of this art is described in this thesis, noting that most powered prosthesis designs do not consider integrating the knee and the ankle or energy exchange between these two joints. An energy regenerative, motorized prosthesis is proposed here to address this gap. After preliminary data processing is discussed, three steps toward the realization of such a system are completed. First, the design, optimization, and evaluation of a knee joint actuator are presented. The final result is found to be consistently capable of energy regeneration across a single stride simulation. Secondly, because of the need for a prosthesis simulation structure mimicking the human system, a novel ground contact model in two dimensions is proposed. The contact model is validated against human reference data. Lastly, within simulation a control method combining two previously published prosthesis controllers is designed, optimized, and evaluated. Accurate tracking across all joints and ground reaction forces are generated, and the knee joint is shown to have human-like energy absorption characteristics. The successful completion of these three steps contributes toward the realization of an optimal combined knee-ankle prosthesis with energy regeneration