I want to design an artificial leg for disabled people. The idea is design of a Device for patients with problems on one side of the leg from the knee down. This device first detects intent to move through movement of the hip. The knee flexes when it detect force in the ankle foot. Then it decides the type of motion needed for the foot by using force sensors placed on the sole of the healthy foot. These force sensors are placed on three different regions; heel, metatarsal and toe. Using the human gait pattern in relation to force and time. This device can segment the pattern of the person’s gait and analyze the required gait of the disabled ankle-foot so it may assist the patient to move appropriately. This device also assists in telerehabilitation as it records the patients gait data and sends it to a medical professional for efficient follow up and prevention of further injury or fall.

I have little knowledge on where to start and I want to take courses. I know I need mechanical and electrical engineering lessons. However, I don't know which courses to take and where to take them. Any recommendations?

  • $\begingroup$ This looks like an academic guidance question. Such questions often involve personal choice and can probably be better answered by an adviser or counselor. We do not believe this site's format is well-suited to such questions, which are therefore considered off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Wasabi
    Jan 20 '20 at 21:51

You will need to do some math and sizing calculations along the way so by all means check out the course suggestions in the other answers.

Most of the time, engineering isn't about inventing something new but finding a solution that also fits to your problem (like a specific type of sensor or bearing). Courses on robotics or prosthetics building should give you many hints about what parts etc. exist. Additionally, read up as much as you can on existing prosthetics how they go about things, try to spend some time at a relevant trade fair and have things shown and explained to you. Spend time with people using prosthetics and try to understand their gripes.

I'm in a completely different field but to me, discussions on why this solution was chosen over that solution are often enlightening.

Lastly, never underestimate manufacturability: Can the thing I design actually be built?


For the mechanical side, you should consider these:

  • Engineering Statics

  • Engineering Dynamics

  • Strength of materials

  • Machine design

  • Control systems

  • Mechatronics

  • Calculus

  • Linear algebra

  • Differential equations

  • CAD

These are pretty core mechanical engineering courses. Not sure what EE courses you should take, but hope this helps.

  • $\begingroup$ Good list, also need the medical side... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 19 '20 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you jko! Any tips on where to learn these such as books or courses? $\endgroup$ Jan 20 '20 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ Degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical / electronic engineering all have relevant courses. Many Universities and institutions offer these courses, you need to check them out and choose the one or ones relevant for you. We cannot make that choice. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 20 '20 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ I believe MIT posts most of their lectures online for free for engineering courses if you want to go that route. Your local community college (or international equivalent) should have some basic engineering courses, the faculty there should be able to advise you further. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Jan 20 '20 at 13:08

To add to @jko's answer:

robotics mechanism design

robotics control system design, or generalized dynamic system controls theory

human biomechanics

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, any suggestions on whete to learn those individually? $\endgroup$ Jan 20 '20 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Biomechanics by itself is a four-year college degree, as taught in the USA. $\endgroup$ Jan 21 '20 at 0:50

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