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Actuated leg prosthesis for above-knee amputees

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Actuated leg prosthesis for above-knee amputees


The actuated leg prosthesis comprises a knee member, a socket connector provided over the knee member, an elongated trans-tibial member having a bottom end under which is connected an artificial foot, and a linear actuator. A first pivot assembly allows to operatively connect the trans-tibial member to the knee member. A second pivot assembly allows to operatively connect an upper end of the actuator to the knee member. A third pivot assembly allows to operatively connect a bottom end of the actuator to the bottom end of the trans-tibial member. The prosthesis can be provided as either a front actuator configuration or a rear actuator configuration.
Related Terms: Prosthesis Tibia Socket

Browse recent Victhom Human Bionics, Inc. patents - Quebec, CA
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130035769 - Class: 623 24 (USPTO) - 02/07/13 - Class 623 
Prosthesis (i.e., Artificial Body Members), Parts Thereof, Or Aids And Accessories Therefor > Having Electrical Actuator

Inventors: Stéphane Bédard, Pierre-olivier Roy

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130035769, Actuated leg prosthesis for above-knee amputees.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/289,038, filed Nov. 29, 2005, which is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/463,495, filed Jun. 17, 2003, which claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent applications No. 60/405,281 filed Aug. 22, 2002; No. 60/424,261 filed Nov. 6, 2002; and No. 60/453,556 filed Mar. 11, 2003, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to an actuated leg prosthesis for above-knee amputees.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

Over the years, many kinds of leg prostheses have been devised in effort to replace the leg or legs that amputees have lost. All these leg prostheses have the difficult task of giving to these amputees a life as normal as possible. The complexity of human locomotion, however, is such that conventional leg prostheses have until now only been using passive mechanisms in the most sophisticated available devices. Conventional leg prostheses are very limited compared to a real human leg and some needs were thus not entirely fulfilled by them.

2. Description of the Related Art

According to amputees, specific conditions of use of conventional leg prostheses, such as repetitive movements and continuous loading, typically entail problems such as increases in metabolic energy expenditures, increases of socket pressure, limitations of locomotion speeds, discrepancies in the locomotion movements, disruptions of postural balance, disruptions of the pelvis-spinal column alignment, and increases in the use of postural clinical rehabilitation programs.

Another problem is that during the amputees\' locomotion, energy used for moving the prosthesis mainly originates from the amputees themselves because conventional leg prostheses do not have self-propulsion capabilities. This has considerable short and long-term negative side effects. Recent developments in the field of energy-saving prosthetic components have partially contributed to improve energy transfer between the amputees and their prosthesis. Nevertheless, the problem of energy expenditure is still not fully resolved and remains a major concern.

A further problem is that the dynamic role played by the stump during the amputees\' locomotion renders difficult the prolonged wearing of conventional leg prostheses. This may create, among other things, skin problems such as folliculitis, contact dermatitis, oedema, cysts, skin shearing, scarring and ulcers. Although these skin problems may be partially alleviated by using a silicon sheath, a complete suction socket or powder, minimizing these skin problems remain a concern.

Considering this background, it clearly appears that there was a need to develop improved leg prosthesis for above-knee amputees.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with a first broad aspect of the present invention, there is provided an improved actuated leg prosthesis comprising a knee member, first means for connecting a socket over the knee member, an elongated trans-tibial member, second means for connecting an artificial foot under a bottom end of the trans-tibial member, a linear actuator, third means for operatively connecting the trans-tibial member to the knee member, fourth means for operatively connecting the upper end of the actuator to the knee member, and fifth means for operatively connecting the bottom end of the actuator to the bottom end of the trans-tibial member.

In accordance with another broad aspect of the present invention, there is provided an improved actuated leg prosthesis comprising a knee member, a socket connected over the knee member, an elongated trans-tibial member, an artificial foot connected under a bottom end of the trans-tibial member, and a linear actuator. A first pivot assembly allows to operatively connect the trans-tibial member to the knee member. The first pivot assembly defines a first pivot axis that is perpendicular to a main longitudinal axis of the trans-tibial member. A second pivot assembly allows to operatively connect an upper end of the actuator to the knee member. The second pivot assembly defines a second pivot axis that is substantially parallel to the first pivot axis. The second pivot axis is also spaced apart from the first pivot axis and the main longitudinal axis. A third pivot assembly allows to operatively connect a bottom end of the actuator to the bottom end of the trans-tibial member. The third pivot assembly defines a third pivot axis that is substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the first pivot axis.

These and other aspects of the present invention are described in or apparent from the following detailed description, which description is made in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an actuated prosthesis with a front actuator configuration, in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a partially exploded perspective view of the prosthesis shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the knee member and the first pivot assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the trans-tibial member and the third pivot assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a partially exploded view of the linear actuator and the second pivot assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating the geometrical model with the front actuator configuration.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the optical switch support shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an actuated prosthesis with a rear actuator configuration, in accordance with another possible embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a partially exploded perspective view of the prosthesis shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the prosthesis shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the knee member, the first pivot assembly and the second pivot assembly shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 12 is a partially exploded view of the trans-tibial member and the third pivot assembly shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 13 is a diagram illustrating the geometrical model with the rear actuator configuration.

FIG. 14 is a bloc diagram showing an example of a control system for the actuator of the prosthesis.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The appended figures show an actuated prosthesis (10) in accordance with the preferred embodiment and an alternate embodiment of the present invention. It should be understood that the present invention is not limited to these illustrated implementations since various changes and modifications may be effected herein without departing from the scope of the appended claims.

The prosthesis (10) has two main configurations, one being a front actuator configuration and the other being a rear actuator configuration. The front actuator configuration is preferred. FIGS. 1 to 7 show the prosthesis (10) with the front actuator configuration while FIGS. 8 to 13 show the prosthesis (10) with the rear actuator configuration.

Front Actuator Configuration

FIGS. 1 and 2 show the basic components of the prosthesis (10), which include a knee member (12), an elongated trans-tibial member (14), and a linear actuator (16) set between the knee member (12) and the trans-tibial member (14). The prosthesis (10) also comprises means for connecting a socket (18) on the knee member (12) and means for connecting an artificial foot (20) under a bottom end of the trans-tibial member (14).

The socket (18) must achieve adequate effort transfers between the prosthesis (10) and the amputee\'s stump. The design of the socket (18) is usually a custom operation in order to achieve an optional load transmission, stability and efficient control for the stump\'s mobility. The socket (18) is generally held in place on the stump of the user by a suction effect created by an appropriate system such as, for example, a flexible suction liner of type “Thermolyn” manufactured by the Otto Bock Inc. The prosthesis (10) can otherwise use any suitable sockets available on the market.

The means for connecting the socket (18) may comprise a bottom socket connector (22) provided over the knee member (12). The bottom socket connector (22) is preferably removably connected by means of fasteners, for instance screws or bolts. The exact type of bottom socket connector (22) may vary. An example is a connector having a standard male pyramid configuration, such as male pyramid model 4R54 manufactured by Otto Bock Inc. Another example is the sliding connector with male pyramid model 2054-2 manufactured by Ossur Inc. The socket (18) would then be equipped with a corresponding upper connector which fits over the bottom male connector (22). Other types of connectors may be used as well.

The knee member (12) ensures the junction between the socket (18) and the trans-tibial member (14) with at least one degree of freedom in rotation. The knee member (12) range of motion is preferably about 105 degrees, where zero degree is at full extension and 105 degrees is at maximal knee flexion.

FIG. 3 shows an enlarged view of the knee member (12). The knee member (12) is preferably a fork-shaped item, with two flanges (24) projecting from an upper plate (26). The upper plate (26) includes four threaded holes (28) for the removable fasteners of the bottom socket connector (22).

The knee member (12) in the preferred embodiment is connected to the trans-tibial member (14) by means of a first pivot assembly (30). The first pivot assembly (30) allows to operatively connect the trans-tibial member (14) to the knee member (12), thereby making possible a relative rotation between these two parts. It should be noted that the first pivot assembly (30) can also be polycentric. This means that the movement between the knee member (12) and the trans-tibial member (14) is not purely rotational but follows a much more complex pattern. The right and left sides of the parts can further be slightly different, thereby causing a slight torsion movement around a vertical axis. Nevertheless, the general overall movement remains substantially a rotation around a pivot axis.

In the preferred embodiment, the first pivot assembly (30) defines a first pivot axis (31) that is substantially perpendicular to a main longitudinal axis (15) extending along the length of trans-tibial member (14) in the frontal plane, as shown in FIG. 1. This first pivot assembly (30) also comprises an axle (32) supported by two bearings (34), each mounted in a corresponding housing (36) in the flanges (24) of the knee member (12). An example of bearing (34) is a single groove-bearing model 6300-ZZ manufactured by NSK Inc. Of course, other types of bearings (34) may be used as well. A 10 mm shoulder nut (37) and a set of external spacers (35) allow to retain the bearings (34) on threaded ends of the axle (32). An optical switch support (38), shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 7, is mounted around the axle (32) between the two flanges (24) of the knee member (12). The support (38) is described later in the description.

Preferably, as best shown in FIG. 3, a set of energy absorption bumpers (44) is provided at the back side of the knee member (12) to prevent out of range motion. These bumpers (44) can be, for example, bumper model GBA-1 manufactured by Tecspak Inc. Of course, other types of bumpers (44) may be used as well. They are mounted on corresponding brackets (42) located on the side and the front of the upper plate (26) of the knee member (12). The brackets (42) are also used to support connectors (78) which are described later in the description.

FIG. 4 shows the trans-tibial member (14) in accordance with the preferred embodiment. It includes three main sections, namely an upper section (14A), a middle section (14B), and a bottom section (14C).

The upper section (14A) of the trans-tibial member (14) is preferably a fork-shaped item with two flanges (50) projecting from a mounting base (52). The mounting base (52) is rigidly connected to a pair of trans-tibial post bars (54). A back plate (56) is provided at the back. The pair of bars (54) and the back plate (56) are part of the middle section (14B). They are both connected to the bottom section (14C), which is itself a two-part item in the preferred embodiment. The first part (60) is a somewhat U-shaped part under which the second part (62) is attached. The second part (62) is an extension under which the artificial foot (20) is provided. The means for connecting the artificial foot (20) may comprise a set of threaded holes in which screws are inserted. Other types of connectors may be used.

The artificial foot (20) may be, for example, a standard 26 cm Trustep prosthetic foot manufactured by College Park Industries Inc. or Allurion model ALX5260 prosthetic foot manufactured by Ossur Inc. Other types of articulated or non-articulated artificial foot (20) may be used if the selected prosthetic foot provides approximately at least the same dynamical response as the ones mentioned here above. The design of the prosthesis (10) is modular and consequently, it can be adjusted to any morphology. The artificial foot (20) may have an exposed metal or composite structure. It may also have a cosmetic covering that gives it the appearance of a human ankle and foot.

The pair of bars (54) and the back plate (56) provide a space (58) in which most of the actuator (16) is located. The various electronic and electric components may also be attached on either sides of the back plate (56). This compact design allows to keep the overall dimensions within that of a normal human leg.

FIG. 5 shows the linear actuator (16) in accordance with the preferred embodiment. The upper end (16A) of the actuator (16) is connected to the knee member (12) and the bottom end (16B) is connected to the bottom section (14C) of the trans-tibial member (14). The function of the actuator (16) is to supply the prosthesis (10) with the necessary mechanical energy to execute, in a sagittal plane, the angular displacements synchronized with the amputee\'s locomotion. The linear motion of the actuator (16) is used to control the angle of the knee member (12) with reference to the trans-tibial member (14). The actuator (16) includes an electrical motor (70) coupled with a mechanism (72, 74) to transfer rotational motion into linear motion. An example of motor (70) is the model BN2328EU manufactured by Poly-Scientific. The motor (70) operates a screw (72) engaged to a fixed follower (74) at the bottom of the actuator (16). The follower (74) is held by a follower support (76). The follower (74) and the follower support (76) constitute the bottom end (16B) of the actuator (16). In use, when the motor (70) rotates, the screw (72) is rotated in or out of the follower (74). This pushes or pulls the knee member (12), thereby causing a relative rotation between the knee member (12) and the trans-tibial member (14).

The choice of the linear actuator (16) is primarily based on weight versus torque ratio and speed of available motor technologies. It is preferred over a direct drive system coupled directly to the knee member (12) because it takes less space for the torque requirement in human locomotion. It was found that ideally, the actuator (16) must be capable of supplying a continuous force of about 515 N and a peak force of about 2250 N.

The prosthesis (10) of the preferred embodiment further comprises a second pivot assembly (80). The second pivot assembly (80) operatively connects the upper end (16A) of the actuator (16) to the knee member (12). The second pivot assembly (80) defines a second pivot axis (81) that is substantially parallel to the first pivot axis (31). It is also spaced from the plane defined by its first pivot axis (31) and the main longitudinal axis (15). An example of this configuration is schematically illustrated in FIG. 6. This diagram represents the various pivot axes. The first pivot axis (31) is identified as “O”. The second pivot axis (81) is identified with the letter “C”. Both axes (C, O) are spaced apart by the distance “r”. This distance creates a lever arm allowing the actuator (16) to move the trans-tibial member (14) with reference to the knee member (12).



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130035769 A1
Publish Date
02/07/2013
Document #
13540342
File Date
07/02/2012
USPTO Class
623 24
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
61F2/70
Drawings
12


Prosthesis
Tibia
Socket


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