Design, implementation and control of self-aligning, bowden cable-driven, series elastic exoskeletons for lower extremity rehabilitation
Çelebi, Beşir (2013) Design, implementation and control of self-aligning, bowden cable-driven, series elastic exoskeletons for lower extremity rehabilitation. [Thesis]
We present AssistOn-Leg, a modular, self-aligning exoskeleton for robotassisted rehabilitation of lower extremities. AssistOn-Leg consists of three selfaligning, powered exoskeletons targeting ankle, knee and hip joints, respectively. Each module can be used in a stand-alone manner to provide therapy to its corresponding joint or the modules can be connected together to deliver natural gait training to patients. In particular, AssistOn-Ankle targets dorsiflexion/ plantarflexion and supination/pronation of human ankle and can be configured to deliver balance/proprioception or range of motion/strengthening exercises; AssistOn-Knee targets flexion/extension movements of the knee joint, while also accommodating its translational movements in the sagittal plane; and AssistOn- Hip targets flexion/extension movements hip joint, while allowing for translations of hip-pelvis complex in the sagittal plane. Automatically aligning their joint axes, modules of AssistOn-Leg ensure an ideal match between human joint axes and the exoskeleton axes. Self-alignment of the modules not only guarantees ergonomy and comfort throughout the therapy, but also significantly shortens the setup time required to attach a patient to the exoskeleton. Bowden cable-driven series elastic actuation is utilized in the modules located at the distal (knee and ankle) joints of AssistOn-Leg to keep the apparent inertia of the system low, while simultaneously providing large actuation torques required to support human gait. Series elasticity also provides good force tracking characteristics, active back-driveability within the control bandwidth and passive compliance as well as impact resistance for excitations above this bandwidth. AssistOn-Hip is designed to be passively back-driveable with a capstan-based multi-level transmission. Thanks to passive compliance of the distal modules and passive backdriveability of the hip module, the overall design ensures safety even under power losses and robustness throughout the whole frequency spectrum.
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