Topology Optimization and Freeform Fabrication Framework for Developing Prosthetic Feet
The ability to easily design and manufacture prosthetic feet with novel design characteristics has great potential to improve amputee rehabilitation and care. This study presents a framework using topology optimization methods to develop new prosthetic feet to be manufactured using selective laser sintering. As an example application, the framework was used to generate a prosthetic foot that minimizes material usage while trying to replicate the stiffness characteristics of a commercially available carbon fiber foot. The solution was validated using finite element methods to verify the foot’s loading response, and a prototype was manufactured. The result was a novel foot design that with future design modification has the potential to improve amputee gait by providing energy storage and return and reducing prosthetic weight.