Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


There continues to be a need for an externally powered prothesis which can be used by above elbow amputee patients who cannot effectively operate a conventional body powered prosthesis. This device must be reliable, economically constructed, and easily maintained in the field. A device employing a drive mechanism powered by a small DC motor has been designed to meet this need.

The device is based on an inversion of the belt driven pulley system and is a continuation of previous work employing this mechanism. A prototype was designed using this system in a size suitable for patient application. The model was constructed from commercially available parts and some shop fabrication. Once constructed, a laboratory testing program was devised to subject the prototype to typical tasks it would be required to perform in the field. The test results are included in the report. Also included are the kinematic and force analyses of the model and a computer program, based on the design equations written to simulate the motion of the device under load. A comparison between the simulated and experimental results is also presented.

The major intent of this project was to design and test a reliable externally powered above elbow prosthesis from commercially available parts. The design has proven to be a viable concept and should be pursued further based on the recommendations given in this thesis.