In the early design phase of a prosthetic product, performing evaluations on test stands or human users is time-consuming and involves high costs. Additionally, only a limited number of designs can be manufactured and tested. Simulation not only enables engineers to design a product based on its functional requirements, but also allows them to test a large set of design samples before prototyping.
The boundary conditions of the simulation are based on the ISO standard for testing prosthetic feet, which imitate human walking characteristics regarding ground reaction force and joint angles. The virtual test includes a sufficient number of load steps to represent one entire human step during a static analysis. Simulation results enable researchers to characterize and predict the performance of the prosthetic foot during walking, replacing the traditional empirical development of the product.
Virtual testing of prosthetic foot designs early in the development process targets high functional performance in the first iteration before prototyping. The noticeable benefit of this approach is fast and cost-efficient product development. Using simulations, a large number of promising designs can be tested and narrowed down by specific criteria and outcomes.