Bio-Inspired Joint: a new concept for robotic and prosthetic limbs.

 Bio-Inspired Joint

Project title: Bio-Inspired Condylar Hinge Joint: A new concept for Robotic and Prosthetic limbs

In the case of autonomous mobile robots such as two-legged and four-legged walking robots, it is very desirable to have highly optimised limb joints because of the limitations on space and actuator size. On the other hand, there are around 5,000 leg amputees per year and 70,000 knee replacements carried out each year in the UK, making artificial knee joints an important medical device that enables many people to maintain walking and running functions.

In robotics as in medical prosthesis, it is very important to have highly optimised limb joints because of the limitations on space and actuator size. In both fields, joints have a significant effect on the mechanical performance of the limbs in terms of inertia, size, accuracy and ability to absorb shock loads. Ideally, the joints should:

  • Mimic the motion of a human knee
  • Fit within the envelope of a human knee
  • Be lightweight
  • Mechanically efficient
  • Be shock absorbing.

This project is supported by the EPSRC and aims to provide a better understanding of the fundamental functions of human joints. This research focuses on defining a new design concept to improve the mechanical structure of robotic and prosthetic limbs through the implementation of biomimetic design principles. The bio-inspired condylar joint mimics the structure and biomechanics of the human knee joint. The prototype has the same desirable features of a natural knee joint including compactness, a moving centre of rotation, high strength, high stiffness and locking in the upright position.

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Page last updated 13 April 2017

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