The actuation systems of lower limbs exoskeletons have been extensively investigated and, presently, a great effort is aimed at reducing the weight and improving the efficiency, thus increasing the operating range for battery-operated devices. In this work, an innovative and more efficient actuation system to power the knee joint is proposed. The key and nonconventional elements of this alternative design are a flywheel and a micro infinitely variable transmission (IVT). This particular powertrain configuration permits to exploit efficiently the dynamics of human locomotion, which offers the possibility to recover energy. By means of simulations of level ground walking and running, it is here demonstrated how storing energy in the flywheel permits to reduce the energy consumption and to downsize the electric motor.

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