Intent recognition in a powered lower limb prosthesis using time history information

Aaron J. Young*, Ann M. Simon, Nicholas P. Fey, Levi J. Hargrove

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


New computerized and powered lower limb pros-theses are being developed that enable amputees to perform multiple locomotion modes. However, current lower limb prosthesis controllers are not capable of transitioning these devices automatically and seamlessly between locomotion modes such as level-ground walking, stairs and slopes. The focus of this study was to evaluate different intent recognition interfaces, which if configured properly, may be capable of providing more natural transitions between locomotion modes. Intent recognition can be accomplished using a multitude of different signals from mechanical sensors on the prosthesis. Since these signals are non-stationary over any given stride, and gait is cyclical, time history information may improve locomotion mode recognition. The authors propose a dynamic Bayesian network classification strategy to incorporate prior sensor information over the gait cycle with current sensor information. Six transfemoral amputees performed locomotion circuits comprising level-ground walking and ascending/descending stairs and ramps using a powered knee and ankle prosthesis. Using time history reduced steady-state misclassifications by over half (p<0.01), when compared to strategies that did not use time history, without reducing intent recognition performance during transitions. These results suggest that including time history information across the gait cycle can enhance locomotion mode intent recognition performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-641
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Dynamic Bayesian network
  • Intent recognition
  • Non-stationary signal analysis
  • Powered lower limb prosthesis
  • Transfemoral amputee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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