Assisting Human Balance in Standing With a Robotic Exoskeleton
414 - 421 (8)
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
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This letter presents an experimental study on balance recovery control with a lower limb exoskeleton robot. Four participants were subjected to a perturbation during standing, a forward force impulse applied to their pelvis that forced them to step forward with the right leg for balance recovery. Trials with and without exoskeleton assistance to move the stepping legs thigh were conducted to investigate the influence of the exoskeletons control assistance on balancing performance and a potential adaptation. Analysis of the body kinematics and muscle activation demonstrates that robotic assistance: first, was easy to use and did not require learning, nor inhibited the healthy stepping behavior; second, it modified the stepping leg trajectories by increasing hip and knee movement; third, increased reaction speed and decreased the step duration; and finally, generally increased biceps femoris and rectus femoris muscle activity.