Ski Leg

alpine ski prosthesis for above knee amputees

    This project started off as an open brief related to the Paralympics. I idenified that the experience of skiing for those who have one leg could be improved upon. Currently skiers with one leg either hold two poles with skis to balance, or a prosthesis. There exist passive prosthesis but are limiting because the system only allows to have one spring constant. Whereas, our biological leg allows for controlling of the stiffness of our leg to tune and reduce the vibration and pressure on the skis with the tensioning of our muscles. I wanted to explore the use of pneumatic muscles as an active prosthesis that allows for this tuning of spring constant for alpine skiing.

    Initial proof of concept prototype was built using a small pneumatic muscle from shadow robots. I then calulated the torque required for skiers when applying up to 3G of force for carving around a corner and in a tuck position, created a specification for pneumatics for the abduction and adduction movements of the knee and prototyped a rig.

First small proof of concept with small pneumatic (artifitial) muscles.

Assembled final scale prototype with FESTO pneumatic muscles.
Gathering data to provide positon feedback with pressure control.

3D Render of Assembly

Imperial College London
Mechanical Engineering MEng Thesis

Supervisor   Prof. Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena

Date   2012


  Yuki is an Innovation Designer and Technologist working on creating products and experiences that create positive futures. He is a Design Researcher at the EPFL+ECAL Lab, where he is working on Digital Innovation to bring emerging technologies from the research labs at EPFL to people who need it. Yuki is a graduate from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, holding an MA and MSc in Innovation Design and Engineering and an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently pursing a Masters of Advanced Studies at EPFL and ECAL in Design Research in Digital Innovation. He is passionate about using Design Thinking and Human Centred Design to create positive impact. Since his childhood he was inspired by technology and design. He is also interested in start-ups and getting new ideas to market. He is a Design London Fellow, which allowed him to attend Executive MBA lectures at Imperial Business School and to work on projects along side MBA students. With the Lines team he was fortunate to attend the European Innovation Academy and the Intel Make it Wearable Challenge to learn about patents, marketing, business and design.