TitleDesign, control and validation of the variable stiffness exoskeleton FLExo
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
Conference NameInternational Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR)
Pagination539 - 546
AuthorsMghames, S, Laghi, M, C. Della Santina,, Garabini, M, Catalano, MG, Grioli, G, Bicchi, A
Conference LocationLondon, UK, 17-20 July 2017
Accession Number17101547

In this paper we present the design of a one degree of freedom assistive platform to augment the strength of upper limbs. The core element is a variable stiffness actuator, closely reproducing the behavior of a pair of antagonistic muscles. The novelty introduced by this device is the analogy of its control parameters with those of the human muscle system, the threshold lengths. The analogy can be obtained from a proper tuning of the mechanical system parameters. Based on this, the idea is to control inputs by directly mapping the estimation of the muscle activations, e.g. via ElectroMyoGraphic(EMG) sensors, on the exoskeleton. The control policy resulting from this mapping acts in feedforward in a way to exploit the muscle-like dynamics of the mechanical device. Thanks to the particular structure of the actuator, the exoskeleton joint stiffness naturally results from that mapping. The platform as well as the novel control idea have been experimentally validated and the results show a substantial reduction of the subject muscle effort.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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