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Pneumatically-powered robotic exoskeleton to exercise specific lower extremity muscle groups in humans

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2 Author(s)
Gregory C. Henderson ; George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332-0405 U.S.A ; Jun Ueda

We propose a control method for exercising specific muscles of a human's lower body. This is accomplished through the use of an exoskeleton that imposes active force feedback control. The proposed method involves a combined dynamic model of the musculoskeletal system of the lower-body with the dynamics of pneumatic actuators. The exoskeleton is designed to allow for individual control of mono-articular or bi-articular muscles to be exercised while not inhibiting the subject's range of motion. The control method has been implemented in a 1-Degree of Freedom (DOF) exoskeleton that is designed to resist the motion of the human knee by applying actuator forces in opposition to a specified muscle force profile. In this paper, we discuss the model of the human's lower body and how muscles are affected as a function of joint positions. We then discuss the forces needed by a pneumatic actuator to oppose the muscles to create the desired muscle force profile at a given joint angles. The proposed exoskeleton could be utilized either for rehabilitation purposes, to prevent muscle atrophy and bone loss of astronauts, or for muscle training in general.

Published in:

2012 4th IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob)

Date of Conference:

24-27 June 2012