A Novel Framework to Facilitate User Preferred Tuning for a Robotic Knee Prosthesis

Abbas Alili, Varun Nalam, Minhan Li, Ming Liu, Jing Feng, Jennie Si, He Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tuning of robotic prosthesis control is essential to provide personalized assistance to individual prosthesis users. Emerging automatic tuning algorithms have shown promise to ease the device personalization procedure. However, very few automatic tuning algorithms consider the user preference as the tuning goal, which may limit the adoptability of the robotic prosthesis. In this study, we propose and evaluate a novel prosthesis control tuning framework for a robotic knee prosthesis, which could enable user preferred robot behavior in the device tuning process. The framework consists of 1) a User-Controlled Interface that allows the user to select their preferred knee kinematics in gait and 2) a reinforcement learning-based algorithm for tuning high-dimension prosthesis control parameters to meet the desired knee kinematics. We evaluated the performance of the framework along with usability of the developed user interface. In addition, we used the developed framework to investigate whether amputee users can exhibit a preference between different profiles during walking and whether they can differentiate between their preferred profile and other profiles when blinded. The results showed effectiveness of our developed framework in tuning 12 robotic knee prosthesis control parameters while meeting the user-selected knee kinematics. A blinded comparative study showed that users can accurately and consistently identify their preferred prosthetic control knee profile. Further, we preliminarily examined gait biomechanics of the prosthesis users when walking with different prosthesis control and did not find clear difference between walking with preferred prosthesis control and when walking with normative gait control parameters. This study may inform future translation of this novel prosthesis tuning framework for home or clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-903
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • human-in-the-loop optimization
  • reinforcement learning
  • Robotic knee prosthesis
  • user preference
  • user-controlled interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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