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CSU Researchers Awarded $1.5 Million NSF Grant

Amputees Will Benefit from Breakthroughs in Able-Bodied Gait and Energy Regeneration
CSU Researchers Awarded $1.5 Million Grant from National Science Foundation to Develop Optimal Prosthetic Leg
CLEVELAND – Dr. Dan Simon, Dr. Hanz Richter and Dr. Antonie van den Bogert of Cleveland State University’s Fenn College of Engineering have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a four-year project to develop a prosthetic leg that emulates able-bodied gait and utilizes a groundbreaking energy-regeneration system.
This revolutionary new device promises to dramatically improve the quality of life for people with transfemoral (above-knee) amputations. With current prostheses, these amputees typically walk with a stiff-legged gait, which quickly can lead to other health issues, including degenerative joint disease.
“Our prosthesis will allow amputees to walk with the same natural gait as an able-bodied person and reduce the adverse health effects caused by inadequate prostheses,” said Dr. Simon, professor in CSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “With our prosthesis, they’ll be able to lead healthier and more active lives.”
Innovative energy-regeneration technology will allow the new prosthesis to operate for significantly longer intervals than current prostheses, which require frequent battery charges.
“Our design will mimic the human leg, which operates by transferring energy between the knee, which absorbs energy, and the ankle, which produces energy,” Dr. Simon said. “Our prosthesis will capture energy at the knee and pass it on to the ankle, but instead of using ligaments and tendons, we’ll use supercapacitors.”
Each member of the CSU research team brings a unique expertise to the project. Dr. Simon specializes in microprocessor design and optimization. Dr. Richter, associate professor in CSU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, specializes in mechanical systems and controls. Dr. van den Bogert, the Parker Hannifin Endowed Chair in CSU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and past president of the International Society of Biomechanics, is a leading authority on biomechanics and gait analysis.
The team will conduct research in the new Parker Hannifin Human Motion and Control Laboratory at CSU, a state-of-the-art facility with a V-Gait treadmill that uses motion sensors and 10 cameras to capture human movement. Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, has pledged $1.5 million for an endowed professorship and research into human motion and control at CSU, which ranks among the top 200 universities in the United States for research and development, according to the NSF.
Prosthesis testing will be conducted using robot technology at CSU, and human trials will be conducted at the Cleveland VA Medical Center.