This content will become publicly available on July 15, 2023
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
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- Journal Name:
- Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Electromyography (EMG) Signal Contributions in Speed and Slope Estimation Using Robotic ExoskeletonsRobotic exoskeletons have the capability to improve community ambulation in aging individuals. These exoskeleton controllers utilize different environmental information such as walking speeds and slope inclines to provide corresponding assistance. Several numerical approaches for estimating this environmental information have been implemented; however, they tend to be limited during dynamic changes. A possible solution is a machine learning model utilizing the user's electromyography (EMG) signals along with mechanical sensor data. We developed a neural network-based walking speed and slope estimator for a powered hip exoskeleton and explored the EMG signal contributions in both static and dynamic settings while wearing the device. We also analyzed the performance of different EMG electrode placements. The resulting machine learning model achieved error rates below 0.08 m/s RMSE and 1.3 RMSE. Our study findings from four able-bodied and two elderly subjects indicate that EMG can improve the performance by reducing the error rate by 14.8% compared to the model using only mechanical sensors. Additionally, results show that using EMG electrode configuration within the exoskeleton interface region is sufficient for the EMG model performance.
Exoskeletons and robots have been used as a common practice to assist and automate rehabilitation exercises. Exoskeleton fitting and alignments are important factors and challenges that need to be addressed for smooth and safe operations and better outcomes. Such challenges often dictate the exoskeleton design approaches. Some focus on simplifying and mimicking human joints (joint-based) while others have a focus on a specific task (task-based), which does not need to align with the corresponding limb joint/s to generate the desired anatomical motion. In this study, the two design approaches are assessed in an elbow flexion-extension task. The muscle responses have been collected and compared with and without the exoskeletons. Based on 6 with no disability participants, the normalized Electromyography (EMG) RMS values are plotted. The plot profiles and magnitudes are used as a base to assess the exoskeleton alignment. For this specific task, the task-based exoskeleton has shown a profile closer to the one without exoskeleton with a relatively identical support as the joint-based one; the latter is evidenced through most subjects’ muscle response magnitudes. This preliminary data has shown a good methodology and insight towards the assessment of exoskeletons, but more human subject data is needed with different taskmore »
People with moderate-to-severe cerebral palsy (CP) have the greatest need for postural control research yet are usually excluded from research due to deficits in sitting ability. We use a support system that allows us to quantify and model postural mechanisms in nonambulatory children with CP. A continuous external bench tilt stimulus was used to evoke trunk postural responses in seven sitting children with CP (ages 2.5 to 13 yr) in several test sessions. Eight healthy adults were also included. Postural sway was analyzed with root mean square (RMS) sway and RMS sway velocity, along with frequency response functions (FRF, gain and phase) and coherence functions across two different stimulus amplitudes. A feedback model (including sensorimotor noise, passive, reflexive, and sensory integration mechanisms) was developed to hypothesize how postural control mechanisms are organized and function. Experimental results showed large RMS sway, FRF gains, and variability compared with adults. Modeling suggested that many subjects with CP adopted “simple” control with major contributions from a passive and reflexive mechanism and only a small contribution from active sensory integration. In contrast, mature trunk postural control includes major contributions from sensory integration and sensory reweighting. Relative to their body size, subjects with CP showed significantly lowermore »
Epidemiological studies link increased fall risk to obesity in older adults, but the mechanism through which obesity increases falls and fall risks is unknown. This study investigates if obesity (Body Mass Index: BMI>30 kg/m2) influenced gait and standing postural characteristics of community dwelling older adults leading to increased risk of falls. One hundred healthy older adults (age 74.0±7.6 years, range of 56-90 years) living independently in a community participated in this study. Participants' history of falls over the previous two years was recorded, with emphasis on frequency and characteristics of falls. Participants with at least two falls in the prior year were classified as fallers. Each individual was assessed for postural stability during quiet stance and gait stability during 10 meters walking. Fall risk parameters of postural sway (COP area, velocity, path-length) were measured utilizing a standard forceplate coupled with an accelerometer affixed at the sternum. Additionally, parameters of gait stability (walking velocity, double support time, and double support time variability) were assessed utilizing an accelerometer affixed at the participant's sternum. Gait and postural stability analyses indicate that obese older adults who fell have significantly altered gait pattern (longer double support time and greater variability) exhibiting a loss of automaticitymore »
Factors leading to falls in transfemoral prosthesis users: a case series of sound-side stumble recovery responses
Transfemoral prosthesis users’ high fall rate is related to increased injury risk, medical costs, and fear of falling. Better understanding how stumble conditions (e.g., participant age, prosthesis type, side tripped, and swing phase of perturbation) affect transfemoral prosthesis users could provide insight into response deficiencies and inform fall prevention interventions.
Six unilateral transfemoral prosthesis users experienced obstacle perturbations to their sound limb in early, mid, and late swing phase. Fall outcome, recovery strategy, and kinematics of each response were recorded to characterize (1) recoveries versus falls for transfemoral prosthesis users and (2) prosthesis user recoveries versus healthy adult recoveries.
Out of 26 stumbles, 15 resulted in falls with five of six transfemoral prosthesis users falling at least once. By contrast, in a previously published study of seven healthy adults comprising 214 stumbles using the same experimental apparatus, no participants fell. The two oldest prosthesis users fell after every stumble, stumbles in mid swing resulted in the most falls, and prosthesis type was not related to strategy/fall outcomes. Prosthesis users who recovered used the elevating strategy in early swing, lowering strategy in late swing, and elevating or lowering/delayed lowering with hopping in mid swing, but exhibited increased contralateral (prosthetic-side) thighmore »
Introducing training (e.g., muscle strength or task-specific motor skill) and/or modifying assistive devices (e.g., lower-limb prostheses or exoskeletons) may improve responses for transfemoral prosthesis users. Specifically, training or exoskeleton assistance could help facilitate sufficient thigh/knee flexion for elevating; training or prosthesis assistance could provide support-limb counteracting torques to aid in elevating; and training or prosthesis assistance could help initiate and safely complete prosthetic swing.