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Implementation of a Physiologically Identified PD Feedback Controller for Regulating the Active Ankle Torque During Quiet Stance

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3 Author(s)
Albert H. Vette ; Univ. of Toronto, Toronto ; Kei Masani ; Milos R. Popovic

Our studies have recently demonstrated that a proportional and derivative (PD) feedback controller, which takes advantage of the body's position and velocity information to regulate balance during quiet standing, can compensate for long neurological time delays and generate a control command that precedes body sway by 100-200 ms. Furthermore, PD gain pairs were identified that ensure a robust system behavior and at the same time generate dynamic responses as observed in quiet standing experiments with able-bodied subjects. The purpose of the present study was to experimentally verify that the PD controller identified in our previous study can: 1) regulate the active ankle torque to stabilize the body during quiet standing in spite of long neurological time delays and 2) generate system dynamics, i.e., a motor command and body sway fluctuation, that successfully mimic those of the physiologic system of quiet standing. Our real-time closed-loop feedback circuit consisted of a center of mass position sensor and a functional electrical stimulator that elicited contractions of the plantar flexors as determined by the aforementioned PD controller. The control system regulated upright stance of a subject who was partially de-afferented and de-efferented due to a neurological disorder called von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome (McCormick Grade III). While the subject was able to generate a motor command for the ankle joints, he could not regulate the resulting torque sufficiently due to a lack of sensory feedback and motor control. It is important to mention that a time delay was included in the closed-loop circuit of the PD controller to mimic the actual neurological time delay observed in able-bodied individuals. The experimental results of this case study suggest that the proposed PD controller in combination with a functional electrical stimulation system can regulate the active ankle torque during quiet stance and generate the same system dynamics as observed in healthy indivi- - duals. While these findings do not imply that the CNS actually applies a PD-like control strategy to regulate balance, they suggest that it is at least theoretically possible.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )