January 1, 2021

MEDICAL ROBOTICS

Frontier Research Overview

“The ability to restore and improve movements for individuals with walking difficulty is extremely crucial to improve the quality of their life.”

From this point of view, we focus on developing an adaptive biologically-inspired control mechanism with fast real-time online adaptation of an exoskeleton system to achieve adaptive, dynamic, and robust user-exoskeleton interaction. This will result in natural and energy-efficient walking of patients as well as multiple gait generation for walking on a level floor, walking up/downstairs, and walking on uneven terrain.


Research Highlights

2020

From Bipedal Locomotion to Exoskeleton:

Achieving adaptive, stable, and robust bipedal locomotion and dealing with asymmetrical conditions in a robotic system remain a challenging problem. To address the problem, the research team of the BRAIN lab at IST in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark has recently proposed novel bio-inspired adaptive motor control. We demonstrate that this real-time motor control can effectively generate adaptive and stable bipedal locomotion with robustness against sensory feedback malfunction for a biped robot. It also allows the robot to effectively walk on a treadmill at different speeds and deal with asymmetric conditions such as weight imbalance and asymmetrical elastic resistance in the legs. As an application of this control technology, we have now successfully applied it to a lower-limb exoskeleton system for gait rehabilitation. This research was supported by PTT-RAII under the VISRA project (AdVanced Human-MachIne InteractionS Technology for ImpRoving QuAlity of Life and Health).

For more details, see Akkawutvanich, et al., Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 2020.

Video link of the bipedal experiments:

DACBOT: Reflex-based control under normal operation and absence of sensors

DACBOT: Adaptive parallel control under normal operation and absence of sensors

DACBOT: Adaptive parallel control under different treadmill speeds

DACBOT: Adaptive parallel control with an unbalanced leg under normal and absence of sensors

DACBOT: Adaptive parallel control with asymmetrical elastic resistance