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Title: Design and Validation of a Partial-Assist Knee Orthosis with Compact, Backdrivable Actuation
This paper presents the mechatronic design and initial validation of a partial-assist knee orthosis for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders, e.g., knee osteoarthritis and lower back pain. This orthosis utilizes a quasi-direct drive actuator with a low-ratio transmission (7:1) to greatly reduce the reflected inertia for high backdrivability. To provide meaningful assistance, a custom Brushless DC (BLDC) motor is designed with encapsulated windings to improve the motor’s thermal environment and thus its continuous torque output. The 2.69 kg orthosis is constructed from all custom-made components with a high package factor for lighter weight and a more compact size. The combination of compactness, backdrivability, and torque output enables the orthosis to provide partial assistance without obstructing the natural movement of the user. Several benchtop tests verify the actuator’s capabilities, and a human subject experiment demonstrates reduced quadriceps muscle activation when assisted during a repetitive lifting and lowering task.
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1652514
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10095858
Journal Name:
IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
917 to 924
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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