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Bio-inspired active soft orthotic device for ankle foot pathologies

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7 Author(s)
Yong-Lae Park ; Wyss Institute, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA ; Bor-rong Chen ; Young, Diana ; Stirling, L.
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We describe the design of an active soft ankle-foot orthotic device powered by pneumatic artificial muscles for treating gait pathologies associated with neuromuscular disorders. The design is inspired by the biological musculoskeletal system of a human foot and a lower leg, and mimics the muscle-tendon-ligament structure. A key feature of the device is that it is fabricated with flexible and soft materials that provide assistance without restricting degrees of freedom at the ankle joint. Three pneumatic artificial muscles assist dorsiflexion as well as inversion and eversion. The prototype is also equipped with various embedded sensors for gait training and gait pattern analysis. The prototype is capable of 12° dorsiflexion from a resting position of an ankle joint and a 20° dorsiflexion from plantarflexion. Results of early feedback control experiments show controllability of ankle joint angles. Ultimately, we envision a system that not only can provide physical support to improve mobility but also can increase safety and stability during walking, while enhancing muscle usage and encouraging rehabilitation.

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on

Date of Conference:

25-30 Sept. 2011