This paper describes a control approach for a lower limb exoskeleton intended to enable stair ascent and descent of variable geometry staircases for individuals with paraplegia resulting from spinal cord injury (SCI). To assess the efficacy of ascent and descent functionality provided by the control approach, the controller was implemented in a lower limb exoskeleton and tested in experimental trials on three subjects with motor-complete SCI on three staircases of varying geometry. Results from the assessments indicate that subjects were able to capably ascend and descend step heights varying from 7.6 to 16.5 cm without changing control settings; the controller provided for step time consistency highly representative of healthy subjects (9.2% variation in exoskeleton step time, relative to 7.7% variation in healthy subjects); and the exoskeleton provided peak joint torques on average 110% and 74% of the healthy-subject peak joint torques during stair ascent and descent, respectively. Subject perceived exertion during the stair ascent and descent activities was rated between “light” and “very light.”
Variable Geometry Stair Ascent and Descent Controller for a Powered Lower Limb Exoskeleton
Manuscript received August 4, 2017; final manuscript received June 26, 2018; published online July 30, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler.
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Ekelem, A., Bastas, G., Durrough, C. M., and Goldfarb, M. (July 30, 2018). "Variable Geometry Stair Ascent and Descent Controller for a Powered Lower Limb Exoskeleton." ASME. J. Med. Devices. September 2018; 12(3): 031009. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4040699
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