Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Optimized ambulation exoskeleton

AmbulationExoskeletonPlantar flexion supportRehabilitation

Introduction

Walking is a periodic sequence of muscle activations generating and absorbing mechanical energy. This non-wearable device storages the energy produced during the knee extension and releases it as you push the ankle. Therefore, the current technology helps in the walking process and reduces the metabolic consumption associated.

 

Technical features

The human body generates, absorbs and dissipates energy during walking. In particular, in correspondence with the knee joint extension, an important energy dissipation event occurs. In this phase, the hamstrings act as a brake to slow the foot down. Thanks to a system of ropes and ratchets, the proposed device is able to reduce the speed of the foot and store its energy in a group of springs. In this way, the body can freely continue its movements without further interaction with the exoskeleton. Only at the next detachment of the same leg, these springs will release the accumulated energy to help the ankle in plantar flexion. This results in a reduction in fatigue and in the metabolic cost of walking. This wearable device is entirely rope controlled and requires no electronics or motors or mechanical drive.

Possible Applications

  • Military applications;
  • Medical and service robotics;
  • Physical therapy / rehabilitation;
  • Elderly populations and assisted life.

Advantages

  • Passive wearable device (without motors, electronics, or batteries), with a correspondent reduction in costs and maintenance;
  • Reduction of the metabolic cost associated with human walking;
  • Improved wearability and reduced size;
  • Avoid stress due to overload on hamstrings and ankle.