Send to

Choose Destination
Prosthet Orthot Int. 2017 Apr;41(2):194-200. doi: 10.1177/0309364616650077. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Evaluation of transradial body-powered prostheses using a robotic simulator.

Author information

1 The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, USA.
2 UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.



Transradial body-powered prostheses are extensively used by upper-limb amputees. This prosthesis requires large muscle forces and great concentration by the patient, often leading to discomfort, muscle fatigue, and skin breakdown, limiting the capacity of the amputee to conduct daily activities. Since body-powered prostheses are commonplace, understanding their optimal operation to mitigate these drawbacks would be clinically meaningful.


To find the optimal operation of the prosthesis where the activation force is minimized and the grip force is maximized.


Experimental design.


A computer-controlled robotic amputee simulator capable of rapidly testing multiple elbow, shoulder, and scapular combinations of the residual human arm was constructed. It was fitted with a transradial prosthesis and used to systematically test multiple configurations.


We found that increased shoulder flexion, scapular abduction, elbow extension, and the placement of the ring harness near the vertebra C7 correlate with higher gripper operation efficiency, defined as the ratio of grip force to cable tension.


We conclude that force transmission efficiency is closely related to body posture configuration. These results could help guide practitioners in clinical practice as well as motivate future studies in optimizing the operation of a body-powered prosthesis. Clinical relevance The results from this study suggest that clinicians ought to place the ring harness inferior and to the sound side of the vertebra prominens in order to maximize grip efficiency. The results will also help clinicians better instruct patients in body posture during prosthesis operation to minimize strain.


Biomechanics of prosthetic/orthotic devices; rehabilitation of prostheses users; testing of prosthetic and orthotic components; upper-limb prosthetics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center