Joint loading is a recently developed mechanical modality, which potentially provides a therapeutic regimen to activate bone formation and prevent degradation of joint tissues. To our knowledge, however, few joint loading devices are available for clinical or point-of-care applications. Using a voice-coil actuator, we developed an electromechanical loading system appropriate for human studies and preclinical trials that should prove both safe and effective. Two specific tasks for this loading system were development of loading conditions (magnitude and frequency) suitable for humans, and provision of a convenient and portable joint loading apparatus. Desktop devices have been previously designed to evaluate the effects of various loading conditions using small and large animals. However, a portable knee loading device is more desirable from a usability point of view. In this paper, we present such a device that is designed to be portable, providing a compact, user-friendly loader. The portable device was employed to evaluate its capabilities using a human knee model. The portable device was characterized for force-pulse width modulation duty cycle and loading frequency properties. The results demonstrate that the device is capable of producing the necessary magnitude of forces at appropriate frequencies to promote the stimulation of bone growth and which can be used in clinical studies for further evaluations.

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