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In this paper a modular distributed control architecture for robotic exoskeletons is presented. On a research environment, an exoskeleton can be used for experimental studies on several fields, such as motor control, assistive technologies or ergonomics. However, robotic exoskeletons are usually very expensive and time demanding to build, leading to a limited number of existing prototypes. A modular open system may enable the use of a single exoskeleton device for different several simultaneous researches leading to a better resource utilization. A first step in the development of an open modular exoskeleton is the design of a distributed and modular control architecture for these devices. The presented architecture was divided into tree modules: central processor, nodes and network system. Although this approach is not completely novel, it is innovative on the fact that these three modules follow a standardization in order to enable direct replacement without modification on the other modules. The network system is the only application independent and a custom network was designed in order to be simple to implement without requiring advanced technical knowledge and without a loss of performance. In addition to the advantage of being flexible and easy to modify, the presented architecture enables the implementation of bio-inspired hierarchical control routines, thus being suitable to validate theories and mathematical models.
Biosignals and Biorobotics Conference (BRC), 2012 ISSNIP
Date of Conference: 9-11 Jan. 2012