Open Access

Development of a Wearable Sensor System for Dynamically Mapping the Behavior of an Energy Storing and Returning Prosthetic Foot


It has been recognized that that the design and prescription of Energy Storing and Returning prosthetic running feet are not well understood and that further information on their performance would be beneficial to increase this understanding. Dynamic analysis of an amputee wearing a prosthetic foot is typically performed using reflective markers and motion-capture systems. High-speed cameras and force plates are used to collect data of a few strides. This requires specialized and expensive equipment in an unrepresentative environment within a large area. Inertial Measurement Units are also capable of being used as wearable sensors but suffer from drift issues. This paper presents the development of a wearable sensing system that records the action of an Energy Storing and Returning prosthetic running foot (sagittal plane displacement and ground contact position) which could have research and/or clinical applications. This is achieved using five standalone pieces of apparatus including foot-mounted pressure sensors and a rotary vario-resistive displacement transducer. It is demonstrated, through the collection of profiles for both foot deflection and ground contact point over the duration of a stride, that the system can be attached to an amputee’s prosthesis and used in a non-laboratory environment. It was found from the system that the prosthetic ground contact point, for the amputee tested, progresses along the effective metatarsal portion of the prosthetic foot towards the distal end of the prosthesis over the duration of the stride. Further investigation of the effective stiffness changes of the foot due to the progression of the contact point is warranted.

Publication timeframe:
6 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Control Engineering, Metrology and Testing