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This paper describes a powered lower-limb orthosis that is intended to provide gait assistance to spinal cord injured (SCI) individuals by providing assistive torques at both hip and knee joints. The orthosis has a mass of 12 kg and is capable of providing maximum joint torques of 40 Nm with hip and knee joint ranges of motion from 105° flexion to 30 ° extension and 105 ° flexion to 10 ° hyperextension, respectively. A custom distributed embedded system controls the orthosis with power being provided by a lithium polymer battery which provides power for one hour of continuous walking. In order to demonstrate the ability of the orthosis to assist walking, the orthosis was experimentally implemented on a paraplegic subject with a T10 complete injury. Data collected during walking indicates a high degree of step-to-step repeatability of hip and knee trajectories (as enforced by the orthosis) and an average walking speed of 0.8 km/hr. The electrical power required at each hip and knee joint during gait was approximately 25 and 27 W, respectively, contributing to the 117 W overall electrical power required by the device during walking. A video of walking corresponding to the aforementioned data is included in the supplemental material.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2011