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Design and Control of an Assistive Bionic Joint for Leg Muscle Rehabilitation

[+] Author Affiliations
Vincent Nagel, Sarah Chu, Jack Forney, Lyle Kosinski, Vimal Viswanathan

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Paper No. IMECE2017-71143, pp. V003T04A046; 9 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5836-3
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This project aims to create an electronically powered and controlled knee brace to aid stroke victims with partial paralysis with their leg muscle rehabilitation process. The newly designed assistive bionic joint takes the functionality of the existing assistive knee braces to the next level by incorporating a control algorithm that uses sensor signals gathered from the patient’s leg muscles. Electromyography (EMG) is used for gathering impulse signals from electrodes placed on key muscles as inputs for the device. The action of each major leg muscle is replicated using a set of fluidic muscles that mimic the functionality of the actual leg muscles. A microcontroller is used to interpret sensor data and adjust the contraction length of the muscles, thereby providing the wearer with augmented strength and mobility. Initial testing of a proof-of-concept prototype has led to finite control over muscle contraction length based on sensor data and has a response time of 280ms from full extension to contraction. Further testing of the brace assembly, fluidic muscles and control system is conducted and the results indicate a 600ms response time due to a step input. This personalized, powered brace has many implications for the enrichment of muscle rehabilitation such as higher patient morale, more muscle activity, and shortened recovery times.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Bionics , Design , Muscle



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