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Human-centred robotics

UG Makers, part 7
27 May 2024

‘Imagine a bionic leg that not only helps to walk again but also makes it possible to do so without constantly thinking about it. That would make life a little easier for those who need it’, says Professor of Robotics Raffaella Carloni.

Carloni studies the methodologies and technologies that enable robotic systems to seamlessly interact with humans. In her lab, she shows a video of a recent clinical trial: An individual with an above-the-knee amputation walks more naturally with a novel prototype of a bionic leg and receives full support, even on challenging terrain such as an uphill slope.

Carloni explains: ‘In the design of the bionic leg prototype, we use a biomimicry approach as we intend to replicate the fundamental functionalities of the healthy human leg, in both the mechanics and the control architecture.’ These bio-inspired parts not only improve the mobility of people who have undergone an above-the-knee amputation, but also increase the overall comfort and improve user experience.

During the research, extensive physics-based musculoskeletal modelling of people with an amputation was used to design the mechanical parts that produce movement (the actuators) and to develop the electronic part, the on-board sensors, and the control modules. All of these were combined to create a functional bionic leg that would allow those who need it to move around more naturally.

Carloni concludes: ‘Healthcare innovation in prosthetic technology can only be achieved by taking an approach that actively involves the user in the system design and optimization process. This way, we aim to provide lower-limb amputees with a prosthetic limb that can be used seamlessly and restore a sense of normalcy and independence.’

Text: FSE Science Newsroom | René Fransen
Photos: Reyer Boxem

Every two weeks, UG Makers puts the spotlight on a researcher who has created something tangible, ranging from homemade measuring equipment for academic research to small or larger products that can change our daily lives. That is how UG researchers contribute to the solutions for big scientific and societal challenges.
For decades, engineering teaching and research at the UG has been part of a wide array of strong disciplines, and from a national point of view, our collaboration with the four technical universities is becoming more and more intensive.
Previous portraits of Makers can be found on the
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Rafaella Carloni

Last modified:31 May 2024 08.14 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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