Lower extremity weakness is a serious problem afflicting people all over the world. Until recently, the mobility options for people with this condition have been confining and limit the individual’s functionality. Walking assist devices are presently in development to restore hands-free walking to people with lower extremity weakness. These devices provide the necessary support and power to enable the individual to restore normal ambulation. The proposed design of exoleg, a single leg external walking assist device, addresses the demographic of people with lower extremity weakness. The design includes replication of the gait cycle utilizing mechanical links and user control interface with emphasis on safety. The design couples the actuation of the knee and hip through the use of linkages connected to a single motor. The actuation of the hip is controlled by a 4 bars crank-rocker linkage system while the knee is actuated by corresponding linkages (designed in WORKING MODEL 2D, a commercial simulation software) that generates the knee kinematic profile. The angular profiles of the knee and hip actuations are compared with the actual knee and hip angular trajectories. The frame of the device incorporates a passive ankle stabilization system to compensate for the effects of foot drop. The system utilizes feedback from trigger points from pressure sensors on the foot and goniometers at the hip and knee joints to measure the angulations in gait to keep the device in synchronization with natural ambulation. An on-board microprocessor receives the feedback from the trigger points and sends the actuation signal to the motor. A conceptual design of electrostatic actuator motor is also proposed to keep the device light weight and compact.
Exo-Leg: An Active Single-Leg External Walking Assist Device
Coughlin, T., Knight, J. L., Hinkle, A., Van Cleve, M., Al-Omaishi, S., and Paliwal, M. (August 10, 2010). "Exo-Leg: An Active Single-Leg External Walking Assist Device." ASME. J. Med. Devices. June 2010; 4(2): 027522. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3443178
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