Goal: The evaluation of a bionic ankle prosthesis in persons with transtibial amputation
Short summary: The human ankle joint should not be underestimated. We use the joint for an average of 10,000 steps per day, it experiences a load of up to 2.5 times its body weight and 32 muscles surround the joint to give it sufficient stability and mobility. The ankle joint is also a combination of different joints that leads to movement in three different planes, but where at the same time stability is needed in all possible situations. It is therefore quite a challenge for scientists to develop a prosthesis that approaches the anatomical structures. The current prostheses are passive and do not meet the requirements of the user. This reduces their quality of life and increases the risk of co-morbidity. It is therefore important that new prostheses are developed to compensate for the loss of functionality due to the amputation.
The Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic Foot (AMPfoot) is the result of ten years of scientific research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The prosthesis distinguishes itself from the current models by an integrated motor in the ankle joint. In 2019, the spin-off 'Axiles Bionics' was launched to further develop the prosthesis into a market-ready product. A multidisciplinary team (motion and computer scientists, engineers and prosthetists) works together to bring the product to a success story.
The development process takes place in several phases, of which the clinical evaluation is an important part. We take a holistic approach by reporting biomechanical, physiological and psychological parameters. The project takes a step back from fundamental research and tries to bring out as much clinical relevance as possible. In the future, the focus will be more on the human-robot interaction and the integration of artificial intelligence.