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Publication numberUS2629876 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 3, 1953
Filing dateMar 4, 1948
Priority dateMar 4, 1948
Publication numberUS 2629876 A, US 2629876A, US-A-2629876, US2629876 A, US2629876A
InventorsJohn J Fullerton, Robert S Fullerton
Original AssigneeJohn J Fullerton, Robert S Fullerton
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hydraulic control system for artificial limbs
US 2629876 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 1953 R s. FULLERTON EI'AL ,62

HYDRAULIC CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTIFICIAL L'IMBS Filed March 4, 1948 5 Sheets-Sheet l .3. Q 5 5'6' INVENTOR.

ROBERT \iFULLERTO/V JOHN J Fuumrou March 1953 R. s. FULLERTON ET AL 2,629,876

HYDRAULIC CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTIFICIAL LIMBS 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 4, 1948 ATTU RN EYS March 3, 1953 R. s. FULLERTON E'iAL 2,629,876

HYDRAULIC CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTIFICIAL LIMBS Filed March 4, 1948 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 ATQTU RN EYB R. m N E m ROBERT 5. FULLERTON JOHN J. FULLERTON Patented Mar. 3, 1953 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE HYDRAULIC CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTIFICIAL LIMBS Robert s. Fullerton and John J". Fullerton, Columbiana, Ohio Application March 4, 1948,'Serial No; 12,985

2 Claims. 1

This invention relates to controlling and actuating devices for artificial arms and limbs wherein the actuating devices are incorporated in the arms and limbs, and in particular spring actuated liquid filled cylinders incorporated in the elbow and knee joints with connecting tubes extending around the shoulders and hips and with control valves for the cylinders positioned in the fingers and toes.

The purpose of this invention is to provide hydraulic control means for artificial arms and limbs of bilateral amputees which provide smooth, graceful, and at the same time positive action, that makes it possible to travel up and down steps, and that eliminates unsightly hooks and the like.

Artificial limbs and other parts of the human body have been made in different forms and provided with various types of control and actuating devices but it is difficult to simulate the natural movements of the human body with artificial means and therefore, arms and limbs in particular, provided with mechanically operating 'instrumentalities are not completely successful. With this thought in mind this invention contemplates joints for artificial members which are hinged at one side and provided with cylinders having pistons and springs therein con nected by tubes and the cylinders and tubes are filled with liquid, and with the cylinders mounted in one member and the pistons connected by rods to the other member, and with the movement of the pistons controlled by valves positioned at convenient points.

The object of this invention is, therefore, to provide suitable elements for holding joints straight by hydraulic means.

Another object of the invention is to provide actuating means for artificial hands whereby the hands may be used for eating, grooming, and the like.

Another object of the invention is to provide operating instrumentalitis in artificial limbs whereby one limb may be controlled bya toe or finger of the other limb.

Another object of the invention is to provide hydraulically actuated instrumentalities in artificial limbs whereby the limbs are adapted for ascending and descending stairs.

Another object of the invention is to provide emergency power elements for artificial arms and limbs which insure absolute control of the members under all conditions.

A further object of the invention is to provide hydraulically actuated instrumentalities forarti- V 2 ficial arms and limbs which are of comparatively simple and economical construction.

With these and other objects and advantages in view vthe invention consists of the new and novel combination, construction, and arrangement of parts as hereinafter more fully described, set forth inthe claims appended hereto, and disclosed in the accompanying drawings, forming part hereof, wherein:

Figure 1 is a View illustrating the hydraulic control elements incorporated in a pair of artificial limbs with parts broken away and parts in section and with the limbs indicated in outline.

Figure 2 is a detail showing a section through a toe actuated control Valve that is installed in a toe of a foot of one of the limbs.

Figure 3 is a detail taken on line 3-3 of Figure 1 showing cover plates for the toe operated valves with the valve stems shown in section.

Figure 4 is a detail showing a safety lock or latch that is positioned on the outer surface of the knees. I I

Figure 5 is an assembly view similar to that illustratedFigure 1 showing the device as applied to the arms" and hands.

Figure: 6 is a longitudinal section through a thumb of one of the'hands shown in Figure 5.

Figure 7 is a; longitudinal section through the outer end of afinger' of one of the hands shown in Figure 5. g H t t Figure 8 is a view? illustrating" an emergency power assembly adapted to be used in combination with the control elements shown in Figure 1 to facilitate ascending and descending stairways and the like, 7 v

Figure 9 is an enlarged detail with parts shown in elevation and parts in section showing the control elements of the device illustrated in Figure 8. H t

Figure 10 is a detail on an enlarged scale showing a longitudinal' section through a foot adapted to be used on thelimbs shown in Figure l with a shoe indicated in dotted lines thereon and with part of the limb broken away.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference characters denote corresponding parts the artificial limb hydraulic control system of this invention includes cylinders l0 and I l in lower limbs I2 and I3 with control valves Hi and I5 in the toe of the limb l2 and IE and i! in the toe of the limb I3, and alsocylinders l8 and la in forearms Zfi and 21, respectively, with valves 22 and 23 in the upper arms, a thumb actuated cylinder 24, and afinger actuating cylinder ,25. The invention also includes emergency power 3 unit including cylinders 26 and 21 with control valves 28 and 29, a manual control 30, and a fluid pressure supply chamber 3!, and also suitable connecting tubes with restricting and check valves therein.

The cylinder I is pivotally mounted in the limb I2 by a pin 32 and the cylinder is provided with a piston 33 on a rod 34 with the piston held upward by a spring 35 and with the upper end of the rod pivotally attached to the thigh 36 by a pin 3'1. The'cylinder II is similar to the cylinder I0 being pivotally mounted in the limb I3 by a pin 38 and provided with a piston 39 on a rod 40 with the piston held upward by a spring 4I and with the upper end of the rod pivotally attached to the thigh 42 by a pin 43. The valves I4, I5, I6 and I! which are positioned just behind the toe or under the metatarsus of the foot are similar, and each is formed as illustrated in Figure 2 with a partition 44 having an orifice 45 s therein with a valve seat 45 at the upper end and a ball 4"! resiliently held against the seat by a spring 48. The valve is opened by a pin 49 having a head or button 58 thereon and the pin, which is provided with a collar and extends through a packing gland 52 is held outward by a spring 53, with the head or button 50 at the surface of a member in which the valve is incor porated. The heads 50 of the pins 49 may be of any suitable shape, however, a it is desired to prevent the heads turning the head of one pin may be provided with a tongue 54 and the head of the pin of the adjoining valve may be provided with a recess 55 to receive the tongue, as shown in Figure 3, in which the pins are indicated by the numerals 55 and 51.

With the parts arranged in this manner it will be noted that as the step is started with the left foot I3 the weight of the body on the ball of the foot will first open the valve I1 and release fluid in the lower end of the cylinder II so that the piston may move downward to bend the knee. A tube 58 connects the upper part of the valve I! with the lower part of the valve I4 and this tube is provided with a connection 59 to the lower part of the cylinder II, and also with a check valve 60 that permits upward flow only of fluid in the limb I2, and a restricting or control valve 6|. A tube 62 connects the lower part of the valve I! to the upper part of the valve I4 and this tube is provided with a connection 63 to the upper part of the cylinder I I above the piston 39, and also a check valve 64 that permits upward flow only of fluid in the limb I3, and a restricting or control valve 65. The restricting valves BI and 65 will control the speed of the bending action of the knee wherein the knee will bend to compensate for the upward movement of the ankle as the foot rises on the toe or ball thereof.

As the forward action continues the valve It will be opened and this will release the fluid above the spring 35 in the cylinder I0 of the right limb I2 so that the spring will straighten the knee of the right limb. The upper part of the valve I6 is connected by a tube 66 to the lower part of the valve I5 and the tube 66 is provided with a connection 61 to the upper part of the cylinder I0 above the piston 33, a check valve 68 that permits upward flow only of fluid in the right limb I2, and a control valve '69. The lower part of the valve I5 is connected by a tube to the upper part of the valve I5 and the tube 10 is provided with a connection II to the lower part of the cylinder I0, a check valve 12 that permits upward flow only of fluid in the left limb I3,

and a control valve T3. The valve 73 restricts the flow of fluid in the tube I0 and thereby controls the speed of the straightening action of the right limb. The check valve I2 will prevent return flow of the fluid and hold the right limb I2 straight as weight is applied thereto. As the weight is shifted to the right limb the left limb remain bent, the fluid being retained by the check valve 64, so that the left limb is carried through without scufling on the pavement or the like. In the next step the right limb controls the left limb in the same manner.

The tubes 62 and 66 may be provided with accumulator bells l4 and '15, respectively, to absorb variations in volume of the fluid due to changes in temperature, and all of the tubes may be provided with connections 76 for a booster system if desired. The tubes may be provided with flexible connections ll that may extend over the hips or around the waist, and similar connections I8 and 79 may be provided in the knees and ankles respectively.

The limbs are connected at the knees by hinges 30 and safety latches 8| are pivotally mounted on the lower sections and positioned to look over pins 82 on the thighs, as shown in Figure 4.

In the arm control device illustrated in Figures 5, 6 and '7 the cylinder I8 is pivotally mounted in the forearm 20 by a pin 90, and the cylinder is provided with a piston BI on a rod 92 with a spring 93 for urging the piston upward, and the outer end of the rod is pivotally connected to the upper arm 54 by a pin 95. The cylinder I9 is somewhat larger in diameter than the cylinder I8 and this is provided with a piston 96 on a rod 9! with a spring 98 below the piston and with the upper end of the rod pivotally attached to the upper arm 99 by a pin I00. The upper end of the cylinder I9 is connected to the lower end of the cylinder I8 by a tube IOI and the tube is provided with a control valve I02 and an accumulator bell I03. The lower end of the cylinder I9 is connected to the upper end of the cylinder I8 by a tube I04 and this tube is also provided with a control valve I05 and an accumulator bell I05. With the left arm 2| slightly bent the hand thereof may be placed on a table and by bending the body forward the weight will bend the elbow forcing the cylinder I9 upward and thereby forcing the fluid below the piston into the cylinder I8 above the piston which will move the cylinder I8 upward bending the elbow of the right arm. As the cylinder I8 is smaller than the cylinder I9 the right hand will travel further than the left and with greater speed, the movement being controlled by the position of the valve I02. If the weight is removed from th left arm the pressure will be relieved and the spring 93 will straighten the right arm, the movement also being restricted by the valve I02. The right arm will also force the left arm upwardly in the same manner.

The valve 22 under the right arm pit is provided with a connection I01 to the tube I04 and a connection I08 to the tube IM and by pressing the button I09 thereof inward the connections will be in communication through the valve and the pressure will be equalized so that both arms will settle to any desired position at which time the button may be released.

In the design shown the right hand is also provided with a cylinder 25 having a piston IIO therein with the piston mounted on a rod III and held outward by a spring H2. The cylinder is pivotally mounted on a pin H3 and the end of the rod I I I is connected to a cord He that ex"- tends through the forefinger and is connected to a pin H at the end thereof. With the joints of the finger formed as illustrated in Figure 'l with springs II6 held by pins II1 on the inside and caps II8 on the outside the finger may be flexed or actuated to gripping position by drawing on the cord. The cylinder 25 is connected by a tube M9 to a check and release valve 23 in the upper arm 99, and the valve 23 is connected to the cylinder 24 in a thumb I29 of the left hand by a tube I2I. The valve 23 is formed with a ball I22 held against a valve seat by a spring I29 and adapted to be opened by a pin I29 with a button I25 on the outer end, and as the tip I29 of the thumb is pressed inward a piston I21 in the cylinder 29 will force fluid through the tubes I 2I and II9 and through the valve 23 into the forward end of the cylinder 25 so that the piston will move backward and draw the cord I I4 which will bend the finger into gripping position. The ball I 22 which functions as a check valve will hold the finger in this position until it is released by pressing on the button I25 so that objects may be positively held by the finger. The tip I26 of the thumb is resilient1y held outward by a spring I28 the ends of which are held on pins I29 and I39 and the outward movement thereof is limited by a projection I3I that extends into a groove I32 in the under surface of the tip. The tube II 9 is also provided with a control valve I33 and an accumulator bell I34. It will be noted that as the button I25 is pressed inward the valve 23 will be opened and the fluid will be forced back to the cylinder 29 by the spring H2 and the finger will be released.

The elbows are connected by hinges I39 and the tubes through the arms are provided with flexible connections I96 that may extend upward across the shoulders, and also flexible connections I31 in the elbows.

The limbs may also be provided with an auxiliary booster system or emergency power unit to facilitate ascending and descending stairways and the like, and this system as illustrated in Figures 8 and 9 includes the auxiliary power cylinders 29 and 21 with the control valves 28 and 29 and the manual control lever 39 and pressure supply chamber 3 I.

The cylinder 26 which is pivotally mounted in the limb I59 on a pin I5I is provided with a piston I52 on a rod I53 and the upper end of the rod is pivotally attached to the thigh I 54 by a pin I55. A similar cylinder 21 with a piston I56 on a rod I51 is pivotally mounted in the limb I59 on a pin I59 and the end of the rod is pivotally attached to the thigh I69 by a pin ISI. The upper end of the cylinder 26 is connected by a tube I92 to the upper part of the valve 29 and the opposite side of the valve is connected by a tube I63 to the lower part of the cylinder 21. The lower part of the cylinder 26 is connected by a tube I69 to the lower part of the valve 29 and the opposite side of the lower part of the valve is connected by a tube I65 to the upper part of the cylinder 21. The valve 29 is formed with a slide valve I96 having annular recesses I61 and I68 therein and the pressure chamber 3| for CO2 or other suitable gas, is connected to an intermediate point of the valve 29 by a tube I 69 which has a regulating valve I19 therein.

The control lever 39 which is pivotally mounted on a base HI and provided with equalizing springs I12 and I13, may be positioned in a pocket or under a garment and the lever is connected 6 to the slide valve I66 by a flexible shaft I 14. The slide valve is illustrated in the neutral position and as the lever 39 is pressed downward the valve member I66 is forced downward so that the connection I69 is in communication with the tubes I62 and I93 wherein pressure is applied to the upper end of the cylinder 26 to bend the knee of the right limb, and to the lower end of the cylinder 21 so that the knee of the left limb will straighten; and if the lever is moved upward the pressure will be applied to the opposite ends of the cylinders wherein the action will be reversed.

The casing of the valve 29 is provided with vents I15 and I16 at the ends and I11 and I18 in the sides, as shown in Figure 9, and the slide valve IE6 is connected by a stem I19 to an equalizing or dump valve I89 in the valve casing 29. One side of the valve casing 28 is connected by a tube I8I to booster connections 16 on the tubes 66 and 58 by tubes I82 and I83, respectively, and the other side is connected by a tube I89 with a bypass I85 to the booster connections of the tubes 92 and 19 by tubes I96 and I81. The tube I8I is provided with a regulating valve I88, and with the tubes connected to the valve as shown upward movement of the valve I 89 will dump or equalize the pressure in the cylinders I9 and II; and when lever 39 is pressed downward a reverse action takes place in cylinders 26 and 21 although the valve I89 still dumps or equalizes the pressures in the cylinders I9 and II. When the lever 39 is in the neutral position and the system is functioning the pressure chamber is shut off at the valve 29, and the cylinders 26 and 21 are vented to the atmosphere. With the lever 39 in the neutral position the valve 28 also holds the system pressures wherein normal action is controlled by the valves I4 to I1 in the toes of the fee The emergency power system in combination with the actuating devices shown in Figure 1 facilitates bending the knees particularly when rising from chairs, and ascending and descending stairways and the like.

The feet of the artificial limbs are substantially rigid, and these may be formed as illustrated in Figure 10 wherein elements I99 are pivotally attached to the lower ends of limbs I9I by U-bolts I92 and pins I93. Resilient blocks I95 and I95 are provided on opposite sides of the U-bolt and a recess I99 may be provided in the metatarsus for the valves I4 to I1 inclusive. It will be understood that feet of any type or design may be used.

It will also be understood that modifications may be made in the design or arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, an artificial right leg and an artificial left leg, each of said legs including an upper limb and a lower limb hingedly connected together, said lower limbs having their lower portions terminating in feet, a cylinder mounted in each of said lower limbs, a pair of spaced valves mounted in the foot portion of said lower limbs, a pin pivotally mounting said cyl-. inders in said limbs, a piston reciprocably arranged in each of said cylinders, a rod extending upwardly from each of said pistons, a coil spring positioned in each of said cylinders and circumposed on said rods for normally urging said pistons to their raised position, a pin pivotally connecting the upper end of said rods to said upper limbs, each of said valves comprising a partition provided with a central orifice therein providing a valve seat, a spring pressed ball mounted for movement into and out of bridging relation with respect to said valve seat, a pin extending through said orifice and having its inner end engaging said ball, a button arranged exteriorly of said foot and secured to the outer end of said rod, and a coil spring circumposed on said rod and abutting said button, tongue and groove means for preventing rotation of said buttons, a plurality of conduits connecting the valves in one foot with the valves in the other foot, each of said conduits including an upper flexible section, and tubes connecting the ends of said cylinders to said conduits.

, 2. In combination, an artificial right member and an artificial left member, each of said members including an upper limb and a lower limb hingedly connected together, said lower limbs having their lower portions terminating in terminal portions, a cylinder mounted in each of said lower limbs, a pair of spaced valves mounted in the terminal portions of said lower limbs, a pin pivotally mounting said cylinders in said limbs, a piston reciprocably arranged in each of said cylinders, a rod extending upwardly from each of said pistons, a coil spring positioned in each of said cylinders and circumposed on said rods for normally urging said pistons to their raised position, a pin pivotally connecting the upper end of said rods to said upper limbs, each of said valves comprising a partition provided with a central orifice therein providing a valve seat, a spring pressed ball mounted for movement into and out of bridging relation with respect to said valve seat, a pin extending through said orifice and having its inner end engaging said ball, a button arranged exteriorly of said terminal portion and secured to the outer end of said rod, and a coil spring circumposed on said rod and abutting said button, tongue and groove means. for preventing rotation of said buttons, a plurality of conduits connecting the valves in one terminal portion with the valves in the other terminal portion, each of said conduits including an upper flexible section, and tubes connecting the ends of said cylinders to said conduits.

ROBERT S. FULLERTON.

JOHN J. FULLERTON.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 2,182,214 Sargeson Dec. 5, 1939 2,429,866 Broste Oct. 28, 1947 2,442,530 Eberle et a1 June 1, 1948 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 523,329 France Apr. 19, 1921 530,523 France Oct. 6, 1921 530,887 France Oct. 12, 1921 25,532 France Dec. 28, 1922 (2d addition to 530,887)

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2182214 *Apr 10, 1937Dec 5, 1939Sargeson JohnHydraulic artificial hand
US2429866 *Oct 2, 1946Oct 28, 1947Alfred BrosteMechanical finger
US2442530 *Mar 18, 1946Jun 1, 1948Eberle Frank VHydraulically operated artificial body member
FR25532E * Title not available
FR523329A * Title not available
FR530623A * Title not available
FR530887A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3408660 *Jun 20, 1966Nov 5, 1968Edgar W BorchertJoint lock control
US3915153 *Jun 24, 1974Oct 28, 1975Gen ElectricPalpator for X-ray use
US4899637 *Sep 17, 1984Feb 13, 1990Moog Controls Inc.Oscilatory hydraulic actuators with internal supply, return, and control passageways for multi-axis wrist actuator
Classifications
U.S. Classification623/26, 623/27
International ClassificationA61F2/60, A61F2/74, A61F2/68, A61F2/58
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2002/745, A61F2/58, A61F2/604, A61F2/68
European ClassificationA61F2/58, A61F2/68, A61F2/60D