Ratcheting Toe-Off Assist

Authors: Antonio Natar, Luis Garcia, Brian Tran

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Leineweber

Researchers have developed motorized prostheses that increase the ease of walking by providing a force to propel the prosthesis forward and create a normalized gait pattern. However, the most commonly used prostheses do not have any sort of powered propulsion and only rely on reactive forces produced by elastic mechanisms to assist ambulation. Sophisticated reactive foot designs can marginally improve the walking gait by storing energy during the stance phase and releasing it during toe-off. However, the most basic below-knee prostheses, such as the Solid Ankle Cushion Heel (SACH) foot, do not assist propulsion during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle. Here, we aim to develop a modular attachment that provides an enhanced walking experience compared to a standalone SACH foot. The new system employs a simple ratcheting system to flex the toes up during the swing phase. The ultimate goal is to have more toe clearance off the ground to prevent tripping.