This paper describes a new electromyography (EMG) based control approach for powered above-knee prostheses. In the proposed control approach, the EMG signals are utilized as the direct control commands to the prosthesis, and thus enable the volitional control by the wearer, not only for locomotive functions, but for arbitrary motion as well. To better integrate the AK prosthesis into the rest of the human body, the control approach incorporates a human motor control mechanism-inspired ‘active-passive’ model, which combines an active control component that reflects the wearer’s motion intention, with a passive control component that implements the controllable impedance critical to the safe and stable interaction with the environment. The effectiveness of the proposed control approach was demonstrated through the experimental results for arbitrary free swing and level walking.

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