Congratulations to mechanical engineering assistant professor Tommaso Lenzi for receiving a new $972K Department of Defense – Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (DoD CDMRP) grant entitled, “Motorized Hip Orthoses to Improve the Gait Ability of Transfemoral Amputees.”

The goal of the project is to validate a new approach to improving amputees’ mobility—providing bilateral hip assistance with a motorized orthosis. Hip orthoses are very lightweight, and their mass is located close to the body center of mass, thus minimizing the metabolic energy cost of carrying this additional weight. In addition, as the orthosis is not suspended through the socket interface, it does not affect balance or socket stability. Because motorized hip orthoses can be used with any commercially available lower limb passive prosthesis, users and clinicians can continue to select the best prosthesis for the individual needs of the user. The goal of this proposal will be achieved through the following specific aims:

  • Aim 1—Optimize hip assistive energy for transfemoral amputee patients. We hypothesize that intact-side and prosthesis-side hip joints will need different levels of assistance depending on walking speed, cadence, and subject anthropometry, as predicted by regressive models of amputee hip mechanics.
  • Aim 2—Assess walking ability with and without a motorized hip orthosis.

Our working hypothesis is that a motorized hip orthosis will improve kinematic and kinetic gait symmetry and reduce metabolic energy consumption in transfemoral amputee subjects, when compared to walking without a hip orthosis.

To learn more about Dr. Lenzi and his research visit the Bionic Engineering Lab.