BICEP: A Bio-Inspired Compliant Elbow Prosthesis

Theophil Spiegeler Castañeda, Bart Horstman, Patricia Capsi-Morales, Cosimo Della Santina, Cristina Piazza

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


Adopting compliant structures holds the potential to enhance the robustness and interaction capabilities of the next generation of bionic limbs. Although researchers have proficiently explored this approach in the design of artificial hands, they devoted little attention to the development of more proximal joints. This work presents a compliant prosthetic elbow prototype called BICEP. The design incorporates compliant cross-axis flexural pivots that connect the upper and lower arm without direct contact between the two links. The actuation architecture, inspired by biological mechanisms, employs one actuator and two tendons to create an agonist-antagonist mechanism. This joint enables rotation along its flexion-extension axis while maintaining flexibility in out-of-plane directions, in a system with an overall weight of 351 g. A preliminary evaluation showcases lifting capacities supporting up to 2500 g, and a maximum speed of 157 per second across a 135 range of motion. The soft cross-axis flexural pivots exhibit compliant behavior in both the sagittal and transversal planes, enabling a pleasant interaction with the environment and ensuring safe absorption of unintentional impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman-Friendly Robotics 2023 - HFR
Subtitle of host publication16th International Workshop on Human-Friendly Robotics
EditorsCristina Piazza, Patricia Capsi-Morales, Luis Figueredo, Manuel Keppler, Hinrich Schütze
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783031549991
StatePublished - 2024
Event16th International Workshop on Human-Friendly Robotics, HFR 2023 - Munich, Germany
Duration: 20 Sep 202321 Sep 2023

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics
Volume29 SPAR
ISSN (Print)2511-1256
ISSN (Electronic)2511-1264


Conference16th International Workshop on Human-Friendly Robotics, HFR 2023


  • Bioinspired Systems
  • Compliant Mechanism
  • Soft Robotics
  • Upper Limb Prosthetics


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