The research and development of powered exoskeletons is expected to support the walking of paraplegic patients. At the current stage, exoskeletons do not allow patients to voluntarily control their gait, nor do they provide sensory feedback to compensate for the loss of lower-body sensation. This paper proposes a wearable walking control interface to achieve voluntary gait control, and an electrical stimulation method to inform the patients about their foot position for voluntary gait control. In this study, a walking robot that simulated a paraplegic patient wearing an exoskeleton was used to investigate the performance of the proposed interface and stimulation method. We confirmed that, by using the interface, the subjects were able to control the robot gait for a distance of 3 m. Moreover, the accuracy of the electrical stimulation feedback was confirmed to approximate the visual feedback achieved through the human eyes. The experimental results revealed that the proposed interface and electrical stimulation feedback could be applied to a walking support system for patients with complete paraplegia.
Precise Foot Positioning of Walking Robot for Paraplegic Patient Wearing Exoskeleton by Using Electrical Stimulation Feedback
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received September 5, 2017; final manuscript received May 10, 2018; published online June 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Veronica J. Santos.
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Li, M., Yuan, Z., Aoyama, T., and Hasegawa, Y. (June 18, 2018). "Precise Foot Positioning of Walking Robot for Paraplegic Patient Wearing Exoskeleton by Using Electrical Stimulation Feedback." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. August 2018; 10(4): 044505. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4040354
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