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An Adjustable Compliant Joint for Lower-Limb Exoskeletons

AuthorsCestari, Manuel ; Sanz Merodio, Daniel ; Arévalo Reggeti, Juan Carlos R. ; García Armada, Elena
Keywordscompliant joint
force sensor
Active orthoses
Issue Date2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
CitationIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics 20: 889- 898 (2015)
AbstractThe field of exoskeletons and wearable devices for walking assistance and rehabilitation has advanced considerably over the past few years. Currently, commercial devices contain joints with stiff actuators that cannot adapt to unpredictable environments. These actuators consume more energy and may not be appropriate for human–machine interactions. Thus, adjustable compliant actuators are being cautiously incorporated into new exoskeletons and active orthoses. Some simulation-based studies have evaluated the benefits of incorporating compliant joints into such devices. Another reason that compliant actuators are desirable is that spasticity and spasmodic movements are common among patientswith motor deficiencies; compliant actuators could efficiently absorb these perturbations and improve joint control. In this paper, we provide an overview of the requirements that must be fulfilled by these actuators while evaluating the behavior of leg joints in the locomotion cycle. A brief review of existing compliant actuators is conducted, and our proposed variable stiffness actuator prototype is presented and evaluated. The actuator prototype is implemented in an exoskeleton knee joint operated by a state machine that exploits the dynamics of the leg, resulting in a reduction in actuation energy demand and better adaptability to disturbances.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1109/TMECH.2014.2324036
issn: 1083-4435
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