2020/04 Assist-as-needed Impedance Control Strategy for a Wearable Ankle Robotic Orthosis


“The use of robots in rehabilitation attempts an effective, compliant, and time-efficient gait recovery while adapting the assistance to the user’s needs. Assist-as-needed strategies (AAN), such as adaptive impedance control, have been reported as prominent strategies to enable this recovery effects. This study proposes an interaction-based assist-as-needed impedance control strategy for an ankle robotic orthosis that adapts the robotic assistance by changing the Human-Robot interaction stiffness. The adaptability of the interaction stiffness allows the real-time passage from passive assistance to an active one, approaching AAN gait training. The interaction stiffness was successfully estimated by linear regression of the Human-Robot interaction torque vs angle trajectory curve. From the validation with seven able-bodied subjects, we verified the suitability of this adaptive impedance control for a more compliant, natural, and comfortable motion than the trajectory tracking control. Moreover, the proposed strategy considers the users’ motion intention and encourages them to interact closely with the robotic device while guiding their ankle trajectory according to desired trajectories. These achievements contribute to AAN gait training.”