Prosthetics and Biomechanics

People with a missing lower limb have a need for an adequate replacement for their lost body part to participate in an active daily life.

Over the last two decades, the application of mechatronic approaches in lower limb prosthetics increased functionality while improving user comfort. Nevertheless, potential for optimization remains for future developments.

Our research deals with current problems in the area of lower limb exoprosthetics. Since the aim of prostheses is to restore able-bodied locomotion, biomechanics are of great importance in our research. In interdisciplinary project groups specific gait analysis studies are carried out. Since particular topics are of interest, we use specifically developed metrology. The collected data is methodically analyzed in order to identify potentials to support users through the integration of mechatronic prosthetic components.

Current Projects Related to this Key Topic:

Sponsored by “Athene Young Investigator” – Program of TU Darmstadt

This project combines methods from engineering and human sciences to tackle the multidisciplinary field of wearable robotic devices for motion support and augmentation.

Through considering human factors in control design, algorithms are envisioned to provide efficient and natural assistance and prevent users‘ from feeling to be “controlled by the device”. Psychophysical exploration of how humans experience the stiffness of wearable robots guides impedance control design. With appropriate adaptation, those algorithms facilitate versatile locomotion types and become fault-tolerant. Additionally, psychometric and human-in-the-loop studies examine the impact of the algorithms on the embodiment of the devices by their users. For practical validation, an adaptive shank prosthesis and a powered knee orthosis are used as wearable robotic demonstrators. Finally, all results inform the specification of a human-oriented control design method to improve user acceptance and satisfaction.

Contact: Philipp Beckerle,

Funded by AiF/IGF: 18873 N/2

In an interdisciplinary project funded by AiF in cooperation with two institutes of the TU Darmstadt (Psychology and Sport Science) and the Biomechatronics Group of the Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, we are working on the idea of elaborating the way in which prosthetic sockets are fitted: evolving from handcraft to a semi-automatic development method. Using experimental trials, modeling approaches, the expertise of outstanding orthopedic technicians and the subjective feedback given by amputees, we want to objectify the fitting process and develop a method which decreases fitting time and iterations while reducing the dependence on the technician’s expertise.

Contact: Veronika Noll,

Picture: IMS

Completed Projects Related to this Key Topic:

Funded by DFG: RI 2086/7

This DFG-funded research project aims at the development of concepts and components for adequate user support and provision of feeling of security in dynamic gait situations. A cooperation with the prosthesis manufacturer Blatchford Product Limited, UK, combines expertise of extensive experience in prosthetic development and holistic system architecture mechatronic systems to generate innovative concepts. After performing and analyzing clinical studies with an in-house developed sensor system, concepts for prosthetic components are developed. A holistic mechatronic design methodology integrates gait detection algorithms, control concepts as well as mechanical design and evaluation. After realization of prototypes a validation by test-bench and experimental studies will be done.

Contact: Florian Stuhlenmiller,

Picture: IMS

Funded by the TU Darmstadt, this project aimed at active lower limb prostheses which are user-friendly and energy efficient. Human Factors have been analyzed psychologically and integrated into engineering methods to develop user-oriented technologies. To increase energy efficiency, elastic actuation systems and appropriate control algorithms were designed based on simulations of human gait with and without prosthesis.

Contact: Philipp Beckerle,