Adaptive Impedance Control of Parallel Ankle Rehabilitation Robot
Robots are being increasingly used by physical therapists to carry out rehabilitation treatments owing to their ability of providing repetitive, controlled, and autonomous training sessions. Enhanced treatment outcomes can be achieved by encouraging patients' active participation besides robotic assistance. Advanced control strategies are required to be designed and implemented for the rehabilitation robots in order to persuade patients to contribute actively during the treatments. In this paper, an adaptive impedance control approach is developed and implemented on a parallel ankle rehabilitation robot. The ankle robot was designed based on a parallel mechanism and actuated using four pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs) to provide three rotational degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) to the ankle joint. The proposed controller adapts the parallel robot's impedance according to the patients' active participation to provide customized robotic assistance. In order to evaluate performance of the proposed controller, experiments were conducted with stroke patients. It is demonstrated from the experimental results that the robotic assistance decreases as a result of patients' active participation. Similarly, increased robotics assistance is recorded in response to decrease in patient's participation in the rehabilitation process. This work will aid in the further development of customized robot-assisted physical therapy of ankle joint impairment.