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research-article

Variable Geometry Stair Ascent and Descent Controller for a Powered Lower Limb Exoskeleton

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew Ekelem

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University 2400 Highland Ave Olin Hall Rm 101 Nashville TN 37212
ekelem90@gmail.com

Gerasimos Bastas

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University
gerasimos.bastas@vanderbilt.edu

Christina M. Durrough

Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center 1215 21st Avenue South, Suite 9211
christina.m.durrough@vanderbilt.edu

Michael Goldfarb

ASME Member Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University 2400 Highland Ave Olin Hall Rm 101 Nashville TN 37212
michael.goldfarb@vanderbilt.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040699 History: Received August 04, 2017; Revised June 26, 2018

Abstract

This paper presents and experimentally assesses a control approach for a lower limb exoskeleton intended to enable stair ascent and descent of variable geometry staircases for individuals with paraplegia resulting from spinal cord injury (SCI). The assessment entailed implementation of the controller in a lower limb exoskeleton, and experimental assessment on three subjects with motor-complete spinal cord injury on three staircases of varying geometry. Results from the assessment indicate a high-degree of movement consistency within each subject; a high-degree of consistency in average ascent and descent rates between subjects; the ability to accommodate variable step heights without changing controller parameters; and a corresponding low degree of physical effort required during the stair ascent and descent activity.

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