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Development of a Control Method of a Walking Assistance Apparatus for the Elderly or Rehabilitants

[+] Author Affiliations
Eiichirou Tanaka, Hirokazu Yusa, Yusuke Sato, Tomohiro Sakurai, Kazuhisa Ito

Shibaura Institute of Technology, Saitama, Japan

Tadaaki Ikehara

Tokyo Metropolitan College of Industrial Technology, Tokyo, Japan

Shozo Saegusa

Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan

Louis Yuge

Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan

Paper No. DETC2011-48389, pp. 643-652; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/DETC2011-48389
From:
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 35th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5483-9
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME

abstract

A prototype for a walking assistance apparatus for the elderly or rehabilitants of motor palsy patients was developed as a next-generation vehicle or movable neuro-rehabilitation training appliance, using a novel spatial parallel link mechanism and a bearing lift. The flat steps of the apparatus move in parallel with the ground; the apparatus can support entire leg alignment (including soles) and assist; walking behavior at ankle, knee and hip joints simultaneously. To respond to the variation of equipped person’s walking velocity, the length of stride and walking cycle while walking with wearing the apparatus were compensated by using walking ratio. Therefore the apparatus can be controlled in response to equipped person’s will. Next, we developed a control method of the apparatus by using impedance control, taking into account the dynamics of the apparatus and the legs of an equipped person, and assist ratio for the equipped person. By adjusting the value of natural angular frequency of the desired dynamic equation for the equipped person, this apparatus can assist walking according to the equipped person’s desired response of the apparatus. Furthermore, motor palsy and muscle weakness patients can walk by themselves by using the apparatus; patients who have ambulation difficulty can use the apparatus with weight bearing lift that we developed. Using the apparatus with the weight bearing lift prevents stumbling and enables input of walking movement to the brain motor area. From the results of measured %MVC, the validity of the weight bearing lift was shown.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME

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