Design, control, and pilot study of a lightweight and modular robotic exoskeleton for walking assistance after spinal cord injury
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ProjectORTESIS HIBRIDA MOTOR-FES DE BAJO COSTE PARA LA MARCHA DE LESIONADOS MEDULARES Y METODOS DE SIMULACION PARA AYUDA AL DISEÑO Y LA ADAPTACION (MINECO-DPI2015-65959-C3-2-R)
Walking rehabilitation using exoskeletons is of high importance to maximize independence and improve the general well-being of spinal cord injured subjects. We present the design and control of a lightweight and modular robotic exoskeleton to assist walking in spinal cord injured subjects who can control hip flexion, but lack control of knee and ankle muscles. The developed prototype consists of two robotic orthoses, which are powered by a motor-harmonic drive actuation system that controls knee flexion–extension. This actuation module is assembled on standard passive orthoses. Regarding the control, the stance-to-swing transition is detected using two inertial measurement units mounted on the tibial supports, and then the corresponding motor performs a predefined flexion–extension cycle that is personalized to the specific patient’s motor function. The system is portable by means of a backpack that contains an embedded computer board, the motor drivers, and the battery. A preliminary biomechanical evaluation of the gait-assistive device used by a female patient with incomplete spinal cord injury at T11 is presented. Results show an increase of gait speed (+24.11%), stride length (+7.41%), and cadence (+15.56%) when wearing the robotic orthoses compared with the case with passive orthoses. Conversely, a decrease of lateral displacement of the center of mass (-19.31%) and step width (-13.37% right step, -8.81% left step) are also observed, indicating gain of balance. The biomechanical assessment also reports an overall increase of gait symmetry when wearing the developed assistive device.
CitationFont-Llagunes, J.M. [et al.]. Design, control, and pilot study of a lightweight and modular robotic exoskeleton for walking assistance after spinal cord injury. "Journal of mechanisms and robotics", 13 Gener 2020, vol. 12, núm. 3, p. 1-8.