A Hybrid Neuromechanical Ambulatory Assist System
Technical Report,15 May 2013,14 May 2016
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland United States
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A hybrid neuromechanical ambulatory assist system was developed for walking after lower extremity paralysis that combines the stability and constraints of a novel hydraulic exoskeletal system with the mobility powered by the individuals own paralyzed muscles contracting via electrical stimulation. A mobile computing platform was designed to provide real-time closed-loop control using brace mounted sensors to deliver the stimulation needed to stand up and walk while coordinating exoskeletal control mechanisms at the hips and knees to maintain stability. A variable constraint hip mechanism couples hips as needed to maintain posture and reduces the need for upper extremities to maintain balance. The knee locking mechanism was designed to allow the stimulated muscles to rest during stance while permitting unconstrained movement during swing. A mechanical knee flexion assist was explored to provide sufficient foot clearance during swing on an uneven terrain. The exoskeleton was designed for easy fitting with adjustable uprights and hip abduction for donning for use in activities of daily living for persons with paraplegia. Future enhancements should include small motors at the hip and knee to provide assistive power in users with weakened or fatigued electrically stimulated muscles and stimulation of plantar flexors to provide push-off for forward progression.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Computer Programming and Software