Assist-as-needed control of an intrinsically compliant robotic gait training orthosis
It is a common hypothesis in the field of robot-assisted gait rehabilitation that the active involvement and voluntary participation of neurologically impaired subjects in the robotic gait training process may enhance the outcomes of such therapy. An adaptive seamless assist-as-needed (AAN) control scheme was developed for the robotic gait training. The AAN control scheme learns in real time the disability level of human subjects based on the trajectory tracking errors and adapts the robotic assistance accordingly. The overall AAN control architecture works on the basis of a robust adaptive control approach. The performance of seamless AAN control scheme was evaluated during treadmill training with a compliant robotic orthosis having six degrees of freedom. Two experiments, namely, trajectory following experiment and the AAN experiment were carried out to evaluate the performance of seamless adaptive AAN control scheme. It was found that the robotic orthosis is capable of guiding the subjects' limbs on reference trajectories during the trajectory following experiment. Also, a variation in robotic assistance was recorded during the AAN experiment based on the voluntary participation of human subjects. This work is an advance on the current state of the art in the compliant actuation of robotic gait rehabilitation orthoses in the context of seamless AAN gait training.