Design and Testing of Robotic Socket for Transtibial Amputees:

In the United States, an average of 150,000 amputation-related hospital discharges occur each year. Although prosthetic devices are an essential improvement for the lifestyle of many amputees, their use can still lead to many serious long-term health issues such as deep tissue necropathy, skin lesions and vascular occlusion. Short-term discomfort can also occur as a result of swelling, perspiration, and bruising on the limb within the socket.


When an amputee wears a prosthesis for an extended period of time, the various pressures within the prosthetic socket due to cyclic loading often results in physical discomfort, swelling, and other potential issues within the residual limb. The goal of this project was to design and test a novel prosthetic socket for transtibial (below-knee) amputees that reduces stress on the skin and soft tissues of the limb by automatically redistributing the pressures between the limb and the socket. The final design consisted of a system of soft bladders and servo-actuated valves controlled using input from force sensors. All design specifications were met and pressures were successfully redistributed across the limb in less than 100ms even under a 270 lb (122 kg) load.

This advanced robotic prosthetic socket was built for less than $250 !
Robotic socket under a 270 lb (122 kg) load and real time control interface.

Design and Testing of Dynamic Socket for Transtibial Amputees MQP Defense Presentation
Demonstration of robotic prosthetic socket at the Cambridge Science Festival April 2016

Designing a Dynamic Prosthetic Socket for Transtibial Amputees
Daniel Felix, Selim Tanreverdi, Crystal Trivedi, Everett Wenzlaff
Primary Advisor: Marko Popovic (PH/RBE/BME), Co-advisors: Selcuk Guceri and Yitzhak Mendelson

Current Researchers:

Marko B. Popovic

Past Researchers:

Daniel Felix, Selcuk Guceri, Yitzhak Mendelson, Selim Tanreverdi, Crystal Trivedi, Everett Wenzlaff

This project represents a continued interest in robotic prosthetic sockets that can adjust based on sensed dynamics and perhaps even understand user's intent.

It all started back in spring 2012 when WPI Professor Christopher Lambert asked Professor Popovic to create a new generation of robotic prosthetic sockets. Over a course of a few years other WPI faculty (Fischer, Onal and Mendelson) also joined the team. Several student projects already provided a very clear proof of concept. Perhaps, now is a good time for someone to take next step and comercialize this concept to make a difference.

Christopher Lambert, Greg Fischer, Marko Popovic, Cagdas Onal, Yitzhak Mendelson, "Adjustable Smart Robotic Prosthetic Socket", United States Patent and Trademark Office, Assignee Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Serial No.: US 62/193,719 (Abstract description)