A Step Towards Testing of Foot Prostheses Using Real-Time Substructuring (RTS)

Christina Insam, Andreas Bartl, Daniel J. Rixen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite extensive research in prostheses development, amputees still have to cope with severe limits. Tasks, such as climbing stairs and running or walking on soft ground are demanding and represent obstacles in everyday life. Design verification of new devices helps to accelerate the development. However, current test procedures do not include the dynamic interaction between a prosthesis and the human. Real-time Substructuring (RTS) enables investigation of the dynamic behavior of a system, here human and prosthesis, by splitting it into numerically simulated components and one physical component. As this test imitates real dynamic conditions, foot prostheses can be improved during the development stage. In this preliminary study, a one-dimensional mass-spring-mass system is investigated. The upper mass, representing the human being, is simulated numerically on the computer. It is coupled virtually to a prosthesis, represented here as a spring-mass system, which is mounted on a Stewart Platform. Both systems exchange displacement and force information. The upper mass tries to follow a periodic desired trajectory, which is influenced by the coupling. This paper describes the experimental setup and the effect of delay compensation. In addition, it is shown how the accuracy and stability of the RTS simulation depends on the problem description, i.e. how much the system is governed by the mechanical properties of the numerical part. Although we are specifically considering the application of RTS to prosthetics, the current research tackles generic problems that will also help to enhance other applications involving contact, e.g. the docking of satellites.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecial Topics in Structural Dynamics and Experimental Techniques, Volume 5 - Proceedings of the 37th IMAC, A Conference and Exposition on Structural Dynamics 2019
EditorsNikolaos Dervilis
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783030122423
StatePublished - 2020
Event37th IMAC, A Conference and Exposition on Structural Dynamics, 2019 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 28 Jan 201931 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
ISSN (Print)2191-5644
ISSN (Electronic)2191-5652


Conference37th IMAC, A Conference and Exposition on Structural Dynamics, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Force compensation
  • Real-time hybrid testing with contact
  • Real-time substructuring
  • Stewart platform
  • Testing of prosthetic feet


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