Chuck Radcliffe: Prosthetics designer

Berkeley Engineering 150

CHarles "Chuck" Radcliffe and a prosthetic deviceCharles "Chuck" Radcliffe and an experimental foot-ankle brace developed by his Biomechanics Laboratory.Among the numerous casualties during World War II were about 16,000 amputees from among U.S. forces, and these troops made a major push for upgraded prosthetics once the war ended. It was around this time that Charles “Chuck” Radcliffe began his legendary research in prosthetic biomechanics and limb design. Radcliffe (B.A.S.’45, B.S.’47, M.S.’50, D.Eng.’56 ME) had interrupted his own studies at Berkeley to serve in the U.S. Navy during the war, eventually earning his doctorate and joining the mechanical engineering faculty in 1956.

Working out of the Biomechanics Laboratory, originally established by civil engineering professor Howard Eberhart, a fellow pioneer in the research and development of artificial limbs, Radcliffe designed components that dramatically improved the performance, comfort, stability and control of lower-limb prosthetics. His contributions were extensive and included advances such as the quadrilateral socket, patellar-tendon-bearing prosthesis, solid ankle cushion heel foot and the four-bar prosthetic knee. To this day, his research on gait cycle biomechanics remains relevant to prosthetic designers.