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- IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
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In this work, we introduce a novel approach to assistive exoskeleton (or powered orthosis) control which avoids needing task and gait phase information. Our approach is based on directly designing the Hamiltonian dynamics of the target closed-loop behavior, shaping the energy of the human and the robot. Relative to previous energy shaping controllers for assistive exoskeletons, we introduce ground reaction force and torque information into the target behavior definition, reformulate the kinematics so as to avoid explicit matching conditions due to under-actuation, and avoid the need to switch between swing and stance energy shapes. Our controller introduces new states into the target Hamiltonian energy that represent a virtual second leg that is connected to the physical leg using virtual springs. The impulse the human imparts to the physical leg is amplified and applied to the virtual leg, but the ground reaction force acts only on the physical leg. A state transformation allows the proposed control to be available using only encoders, an IMU, and ground reaction force sensors. We prove that this controller is stable and passive when acted on by the ground reaction force and demonstrate the controller's strength amplifying behavior in a simulation. A linear analysis based onmore »
Kinematic Trajectories in Response to Speed Perturbations in Walking Suggest Modular Task-Level Control of Leg Angle and Length
Navigating complex terrains requires dynamic interactions between the substrate, musculoskeletal, and sensorimotor systems. Current perturbation studies have mostly used visible terrain height perturbations, which do not allow us to distinguish among the neuromechanical contributions of feedforward control, feedback-mediated, and mechanical perturbation responses. Here, we use treadmill-belt speed perturbations to induce a targeted perturbation to foot speed only, and without terrain-induced changes in joint posture and leg loading at stance onset. Based on previous studies suggesting a proximo-distal gradient in neuromechanical control, we hypothesized that distal joints would exhibit larger changes in joint kinematics, compared to proximal joints. Additionally, we expected birds to use feedforward strategies to increase the intrinsic stability of gait. To test these hypotheses, seven adult guinea fowl were video recorded while walking on a motorized treadmill, during both steady and perturbed trials. Perturbations consisted of repeated exposures to a deceleration and acceleration of the treadmill-belt speed. Surprisingly, we found that joint angular trajectories and center of mass fluctuations remain very similar, despite substantial perturbation of foot velocity by the treadmill belt. Hip joint angular trajectories exhibit the largest changes, with the birds adopting a slightly more flexed position across all perturbed strides. Additionally, we observed increasedmore »
Existing models of human walking use low-level reflexes or neural oscillators to generate movement. While appropriate to generate the stable, rhythmic movement patterns of steady-state walking, these models lack the ability to change their movement patterns or spontaneously generate new movements in the specific, goal-directed way characteristic of voluntary movements. Here we present a neuromuscular model of human locomotion that bridges this gap and combines the ability to execute goal directed movements with the generation of stable, rhythmic movement patterns that are required for robust locomotion. The model represents goals for voluntary movements of the swing leg on the task level of swing leg joint kinematics. Smooth movements plans towards the goal configuration are generated on the task level and transformed into descending motor commands that execute the planned movements, using internal models. The movement goals and plans are updated in real time based on sensory feedback and task constraints. On the spinal level, the descending commands during the swing phase are integrated with a generic stretch reflex for each muscle. Stance leg control solely relies on dedicated spinal reflex pathways. Spinal reflexes stimulate Hill-type muscles that actuate a biomechanical model with eight internal joints and six free-body degreesmore »
Abstract This paper presents a new two-step design procedure and preliminary kinematic evaluation of a novel, passive, six-bar knee-ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO). The kinematic design and preliminary kinematic gait analysis of the KAFO are based on motion capture data from a single healthy male subject. Preliminary kinematic evaluation shows that the designed passive KAFO is capable of supporting flexion and extension of the knee joint during stance and swing phases of walking. The two-step design procedure for the KAFO consists of (1) computational synthesis based on user's motion data and (2) performance optimization. In the computational synthesis step, first the lower leg (knee-ankle-foot) of the subject is approximated as a 2R kinematic chain and its target trajectories are specified from motion capture data. Six-bar linkages are synthesized to coordinate the angular movements of knee and ankle joints of the 2R chain at 11 accuracy points. The first step of the design procedure yields 332 six-bar KAFO design candidates. This is followed by a performance optimization step in which the KAFO design candidates are optimally modified to satisfy specified constraints on end-effector trajectory and shape. This two-step process yields an optimally designed passive six-bar KAFO that shows promising kinematic results at themore »
Functional Resistance Training Differentially Alters Gait Kinetics After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Pilot Study
Quadriceps weakness is common after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and can alter gait mechanics. Functional resistance training (FRT) is a novel approach to retraining strength after injury, but it is unclear how it alters gait mechanics. Therefore, we tested how 3 different types of FRT devices: a knee brace resisting extension (unidirectional brace), a knee brace resisting extension and flexion (bidirectional brace), and an elastic band pulling backwards on the ankle (elastic band)–acutely alter gait kinetics in this population.
The type of FRT device will affect ground-reaction forces (GRFs) during and after the training. Specifically, the uni- and bidirectional braces will increase GRFs when compared with the elastic band.
Level of Evidence:
A total of 15 individuals with ACL reconstruction received FRT with each device over 3 separate randomized sessions. During training, participants walked on a treadmill while performing a tracking task with visual feedback. Sessions contained 5 training trials (180 seconds each) with rest between. Vertical and anterior-posterior GRFs were assessed on the ACL-reconstructed leg before, during, and after training. Changes in GRFs were compared across devices using 1-dimensional statistical parametric mapping.
Resistance applied via bidirectional brace acutely increased gait kinetics during terminal stance/pre-swing (ie,more »
FRT after ACL reconstruction can acutely alter gait kinetics during training. Devices can be applied to selectively alter gait kinetics. However, the long-term effects of FRT after ACL reconstruction with these devices are still unknown.
FRT may be applied to alter gait kinetics of the involved limb after ACL reconstruction, depending on the device used.