A Robotic Model to Investigate Knee Joint Dynamics

This project aims to investigate the roll of the cruciate ligaments in healthy joint function. The investigation will take place using an anthropomorphic mechanical model of the human knee. As far as is possible the geometries and elasticity of the elements within the joint have been taken from measurements and imaging of humans. The model includes compliant cruciate ligaments, smooth joint surfaces (condyles) and a knee cap (patella). In addition, the joint is actuated by pneumatic cylinders representing the quadriceps and hamstrings, acting as an antagonistic pair, which produce forces with similar lines of action to those found in the human leg. The model is mounted in to a test rig that allows the joint to perform a squatting motion with the ‘hip’ free to move in the vertical direction and the ‘foot’ pinned at the base. It is hoped that using this test method we can perform highly dynamic tests to further our understanding of the importance of ligaments for performing dynamic tasks and for joint stability.

Funding

This work is supported by an ESPRC Doctoral Teaching Award