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Sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit assistance for paraplegic patients with CUHK-EXO exoskeleton

  • Bing Chen (a1) (a2), Chun-Hao Zhong (a3), Hao Ma (a3), Xiao Guan (a3), Lai-Yin Qin (a4), Kai-Ming Chan (a2), Sheung-Wai Law (a2), Ling Qin (a2) and Wei-Hsin Liao (a3)...

In this paper, we introduce a lower extremity exoskeleton CUHK-EXO that is developed to help paraplegic patients, who have lost the motor and sensory functions of their lower limbs to perform basic daily life motions. Since the sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit (STS) motion is the first step for paraplegic patients toward walking, analysis of the exoskeleton's applicability to the STS motion assistance is performed. First, the human-exoskeleton system (HES) is modeled as a five-link model during the STS motion, and the center of pressure (COP) on the ground and center of gravity of the whole system are calculated. Then, a description of the CUHK-EXO hardware design is presented, including the mechatronics design and actuator selection. The COP position is an important factor indicating system balance and wearer's comfort. Based on the COP position, a trajectory online modification algorithm (TOMA) is proposed for CUHK-EXO to counteract disturbances, stabilize system balance, and improve the wearer's comfort in the STS motion. The results of STS motion tests conducted with a paraplegic patient demonstrate that CUHK-EXO can provide a normal reference pattern and proper assistive torque to support the patient's STS motion. In addition, a pilot study is conducted with a healthy subject to verify the effectiveness of the proposed TOMA under external disturbances before future clinical trials. The testing results verify that CUHK-EXO can counteract disturbances, and help the wearer perform the STS motion safely and comfortably.

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