Design and Evaluation of a Bilateral Semi-Rigid Exoskeleton to Assist Hip Motion

Arash Mohammadzadeh Gonabadi, Prokopios Antonellis, Alex C. Dzewaltowski, Sara A Myers, Iraklis I. Pipinos, Philippe Malcolm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study focused on designing and evaluating a bilateral semi-rigid hip exoskeleton. The exoskeleton assisted the hip joint, capitalizing on its proximity to the body’s center of mass. Unlike its rigid counterparts, the semi-rigid design permitted greater freedom of movement. A temporal force-tracking controller allowed us to prescribe torque profiles during walking. We ensured high accuracy by tuning control parameters and series elasticity. The evaluation involved experiments with ten participants across ten force profile conditions with different end-timings and peak magnitudes. Our findings revealed a trend of greater reductions in metabolic cost with assistance provided at later timings in stride and at greater magnitudes. Compared to walking with the exoskeleton powered off, the largest reduction in metabolic cost was 9.1%. This was achieved when providing assistance using an end-timing at 44.6% of the stride cycle and a peak magnitude of 0.11 Nm kg−1. None of the tested conditions reduced the metabolic cost compared to walking without the exoskeleton, highlighting the necessity for further enhancements, such as a lighter and more form-fitting design. The optimal end-timing aligns with findings from other soft hip exosuit devices, indicating a comparable interaction with this prototype to that observed in entirely soft exosuit prototypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number211
JournalBiomimetics
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • actuation magnitude
  • biomechanics
  • biomedical engineering
  • exoskeleton
  • exosuit
  • force-tracking
  • metabolic cost
  • robotics
  • timing
  • walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Medicine

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