Conventional processes for prosthetic socket fabrication are heavily subjective, often resulting in an interface to the human body that is neither comfortable nor completely functional. With nearly 100% of amputees reporting that they experience discomfort with the wearing of their prosthetic limb, designing an effective interface to the body can significantly affect quality of life and future health outcomes. Active research in medical imaging and biomechanical tissue modeling of residual limbs has led to significant advances in computer aided prosthetic socket design, demonstrating an interest in moving toward more quantifiable processes that are still patient-specific. In our work, medical ultrasonography is being pursued to acquire data that may quantify and improve the design process and fabrication of prosthetic sockets while greatly reducing cost compared to an MRI-based framework. This paper presents a prototype limb imaging system that uses a medical ultrasound probe, mounted to a mechanical positioning system and submerged in a water bath. The limb imaging is combined with three-dimensional optical imaging for motion compensation. Images are collected circumferentially around the limb and combined into cross-sectional axial image slices, resulting in a compound image that shows tissue distributions and anatomical boundaries similar to magnetic resonance imaging. In this paper we provide a progress update on our system development, along with preliminary results as we move toward full volumetric imaging of residual limbs for prosthetic socket design. This demonstrates a novel multi-modal approach to residual limb imaging.
The rehabilitation community is at the threshold of a new age in which orthotic and prosthetic devices will no longer be
separate, lifeless mechanisms, but intimate extensions of the human body-structurally, neurologically, and
dynamically. In this paper we discuss scientific and technological advances that promise to accelerate the merging of body and machine, including the development of actuator technologies that behave like muscle and control
methodologies that exploit principles of biological movement. We present a state-of-the-art device for leg rehabilitation: a powered ankle-foot orthosis for stroke, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis patients. The device employs a forcecontrollable actuator and a biomimetic control scheme that automatically modulates ankle impedance and motive torque to satisfy patient-specific gait requirements. Although the device has some clinical benefits, problems still remain. The force-controllable actuator comprises an electric motor and a mechanical transmission, resulting in a heavy, bulky, and noisy mechanism. As a resolution of this difficulty, we argue that electroactive polymer-based artificial muscle technologies may offer considerable advantages to the physically challenged, allowing for joint impedance and motive force controllability, noise-free operation, and anthropomorphic device morphologies.