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Gait Mode Recognition Using an Inertial Measurement Unit to Control an Ankle-Foot Orthosis During Stair Ascent and Descent

[+] Author Affiliations
Yifan David Li, Elizabeth T. Hsiao-Wecksler

University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

Paper No. DSCC2012-MOVIC2012-8651, pp. 743-752; 10 pages
  • ASME 2012 5th Annual Dynamic Systems and Control Conference joint with the JSME 2012 11th Motion and Vibration Conference
  • Volume 1: Adaptive Control; Advanced Vehicle Propulsion Systems; Aerospace Systems; Autonomous Systems; Battery Modeling; Biochemical Systems; Control Over Networks; Control Systems Design; Cooperative and Decentralized Control; Dynamic System Modeling; Dynamical Modeling and Diagnostics in Biomedical Systems; Dynamics and Control in Medicine and Biology; Estimation and Fault Detection; Estimation and Fault Detection for Vehicle Applications; Fluid Power Systems; Human Assistive Systems and Wearable Robots; Human-in-the-Loop Systems; Intelligent Transportation Systems; Learning Control
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, October 17–19, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4529-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Powered ankle-foot orthoses have significant potential as both assistance and rehabilitation devices for individuals with lower limb muscle impairments. Recently, we developed an untethered pneumatically powered ankle-foot orthosis (PPAFO) for outside-the-lab walking assistance or therapy. It is critical to recognize gait modes (i.e. level walking, stair ascend/descend) because improper actuation can dramatically increase fall risk. Gait mode recognition is a challenging task for the PPAFO because the sensor array is very limited and a new mode must be recognized at the earliest possible time to prevent inappropriate actuation and decrease fall potential. While manual mode switching is implemented in most powered orthotic/prosthetic device control algorithms, we propose an automatic gait mode recognition scheme by tracking the 3D position of the PPAFO from an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The experiment results showed that, with an optimized threshold, the controller was able to identify the position and gait mode at the very beginning of the mode change, to allow for proper actuation control.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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