Assisted motor therapies play a critical role in enhancing functional musculoskeletal recovery and neurological rehabilitation. Our long-term goal is to assist and automate the performance of repetitive motor-therapy of the human lower limbs. Hence, in this paper, we examine the viability of a light-weight and reconfigurable hybrid (articulated-multibody and cable) robotic system for assisting lower-extremity rehabilitation and analyze its performance. A hybrid cable-actuated articulated-multibody system is formed when multiple cables are attached from a ground-frame to various locations on an articulated-linkage-based orthosis. Our efforts initially focus on developing an analysis and simulation framework for the kinematics and dynamics of the cable-driven lower limb orthosis. A Monte Carlo approach is employed to select configuration parameters including cuff sizes, cuff locations, and the position of fixed winches. The desired motions for the rehabilitative exercises are prescribed based upon motion patterns from a normative subject cohort. We examine the viability of using two controllers—a joint-space feedback-linearized PD controller and a task-space force-control strategy—to realize trajectory- and path-tracking of the desired motions within a simulation environment. In particular, we examine performance in terms of (i) coordinated control of the redundant system; (ii) reducing internal stresses within the lower-extremity joints; and (iii) continued satisfaction of the unilateral cable-tension constraints throughout the workspace.

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