Bio-Inspired Balance Control Assistance Can Reduce Metabolic Energy Consumption in Human Walking

Guoping Zhao, Maziar Ahmad Sharbafi, Mark Vlutters, Edwin van Asseldonk, Andre Seyfarth

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Abstract

The amount of research on developing exoskeletons for human gait assistance has been growing in the recent years. However, the control design of exoskeletons for assisting human walking remains unclear. This paper presents a novel bio-inspired reflex-based control for assisting human walking. In this approach, the leg force is used as a feedback signal to adjust hip compliance. The effects of modulating hip compliance on walking gait is investigated through joint kinematics, leg muscle activations and overall metabolic costs for eight healthy young subjects. Reduction in the average metabolic cost and muscle activation are achieved with fixed hip compliance. Compared to the fixed hip compliance, improved assistance as reflected in more consistent reduction in muscle activities and more natural kinematic behaviour are obtained using the leg force feedback. Furthermore, smoother motor torques and less peak power are two additional advantages obtained by compliance modulation. The results show that the proposed control method which is inspired by human posture control can not only facilitate the human gait, but also reduce the exoskeleton power consumption. This demonstrates that the proposed bio-inspired controller allows a synergistic interaction between human and robot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1760-1769
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering
Volume27
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 12 Aug 2019

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Compliance
Walking
Energy utilization
Hip
Gait
Muscle
Leg
Biomechanical Phenomena
Muscles
Kinematics
Chemical activation
Feedback
Torque motors
Costs and Cost Analysis
Torque
Posture
Reflex
Costs
Healthy Volunteers
Electric power utilization

Cite this

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title = "Bio-Inspired Balance Control Assistance Can Reduce Metabolic Energy Consumption in Human Walking",
abstract = "The amount of research on developing exoskeletons for human gait assistance has been growing in the recent years. However, the control design of exoskeletons for assisting human walking remains unclear. This paper presents a novel bio-inspired reflex-based control for assisting human walking. In this approach, the leg force is used as a feedback signal to adjust hip compliance. The effects of modulating hip compliance on walking gait is investigated through joint kinematics, leg muscle activations and overall metabolic costs for eight healthy young subjects. Reduction in the average metabolic cost and muscle activation are achieved with fixed hip compliance. Compared to the fixed hip compliance, improved assistance as reflected in more consistent reduction in muscle activities and more natural kinematic behaviour are obtained using the leg force feedback. Furthermore, smoother motor torques and less peak power are two additional advantages obtained by compliance modulation. The results show that the proposed control method which is inspired by human posture control can not only facilitate the human gait, but also reduce the exoskeleton power consumption. This demonstrates that the proposed bio-inspired controller allows a synergistic interaction between human and robot.",
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Bio-Inspired Balance Control Assistance Can Reduce Metabolic Energy Consumption in Human Walking. / Zhao, Guoping; Ahmad Sharbafi, Maziar; Vlutters, Mark; van Asseldonk, Edwin; Seyfarth, Andre.

In: IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering, Vol. 27, No. 9, 12.08.2019, p. 1760-1769.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Seyfarth, Andre

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AB - The amount of research on developing exoskeletons for human gait assistance has been growing in the recent years. However, the control design of exoskeletons for assisting human walking remains unclear. This paper presents a novel bio-inspired reflex-based control for assisting human walking. In this approach, the leg force is used as a feedback signal to adjust hip compliance. The effects of modulating hip compliance on walking gait is investigated through joint kinematics, leg muscle activations and overall metabolic costs for eight healthy young subjects. Reduction in the average metabolic cost and muscle activation are achieved with fixed hip compliance. Compared to the fixed hip compliance, improved assistance as reflected in more consistent reduction in muscle activities and more natural kinematic behaviour are obtained using the leg force feedback. Furthermore, smoother motor torques and less peak power are two additional advantages obtained by compliance modulation. The results show that the proposed control method which is inspired by human posture control can not only facilitate the human gait, but also reduce the exoskeleton power consumption. This demonstrates that the proposed bio-inspired controller allows a synergistic interaction between human and robot.

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