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Towards Biomimetic Virtual Constraint Control of a Powered Prosthetic Leg

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2 Author(s)
Gregg, R.D. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Northwestern Univ., Chicago, IL, USA ; Sensinger, J.W.

This brief presents a novel control strategy for a powered prosthetic ankle based on a biomimetic virtual constraint. We first derive a kinematic constraint for the “effective shape” of the human ankle-foot complex during locomotion. This shape characterizes ankle motion as a function of the center of pressure (COP)-the point on the foot sole where the resultant ground reaction force is imparted. Since the COP moves monotonically from heel to toe during steady walking, we adopt the COP as a mechanical representation of the gait cycle phase in an autonomous feedback controller. We show that our kinematic constraint can be enforced as a virtual constraint by an output linearizing controller that uses only feedback available to sensors onboard a prosthetic leg. Using simulations of a passive walking model with feet, we show that this novel controller enforces exactly the desired effective shape, whereas a standard impedance (i.e., proportional-derivative) controller cannot. This brief provides a single, biomimetic control law for the entire single-support period during robot-assisted locomotion.

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Control Systems Technology, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 1 )