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1. (WO2007005574) METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ENERGY RETURNING ANKLE FOOT ORTHOSIS (ERAFO)
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01149-02

CLAIMS
We claim:
1. An orthotic device for use on a subject during one or more movement cycles comprising:
an energy storage component which stores mechanical energy generated by the forces between the subject and a supporting surface during a portion of the movement cycle, and a trigger component which prevents the release of the stored mechanical energy until a specific point in the movement cycle of an extremity of the subject.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said movement cycle comprises a gait cycle.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said gait cycle comprises at least one of walking cycle, jogging cycle or running r cycle, or any combination thereof.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein said release of the stored mechanical energy provides a force which aids in the locomotion of the patient.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein said device is an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO).

6. The device of claim 5, wherein said AFO is expanded up the leg.

7. The device of claim 5, wherein said AFO is used in a prosthetic foot and/or leg.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein said device is an arm or hand related orthosis.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said released mechanical energy assists in plantar flexion.

01149-02

10. The device of claim 1 , wherein said release of stored mechanical energy occurs when the body weight of the subject is over the forefoot.

11. The device of claim 1 , wherein said release of stored mechanical energy occurs when the body weight of the subject is at least partially over the forefoot.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein said energy storage component is comprised of at least one spring.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein said at least one energy storage component spring comprises a cantilever spring.

14. The device of claim 1, wherein said trigger component is actuated by a spring reaching a predetermined deflection.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein said spring from which said trigger component is actuated by a cantilever spring.

16. The device of claim 1, wherein said energy storage component has a spring constant, maximum displacement, or initial displacement that is adjustable.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein said energy storage component comprises:
a cantilever spring, and
a fulcrum supporting said cantilever spring.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein said fulcrum has a position that is adjustable to change the spring constant.

19. The device of claim 1 , wherein said release of stored mechanical energy is 01149-02

time adjustable.

20. The device of claim 19, wherein said trigger component comprises:
a cantilever spring, and
a fulcrum supporting said cantilever spring.

21. The device of claim 20, wherein said fulcrum has a position that is adjustable to change the spring constant

22. A method of using a orthotic device disposed on a subject, said method comprising:
storing mechanical energy generated by the forces between the subject and a supporting surface during a portion of a movement cycle, and
preventing the release of the stored mechanical energy until a specific point in the movement cycle.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein said storage of mechanical energy is provided by an energy storage component.

; 24. The method of claim 22, wherein said release prevention is provided by a triggering component.