Immediate effects of a controllable knee ankle foot orthosis for functional compensation of gait in patients with proximal leg weakness
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Application of intermittent control of the knee joint stiffness in a knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) during gait is proposed. The approach combines inertial sensors and an actuator system in order to apply compensation in quadriceps weakness with a wearable device. Two methods, segment-angular rotation based and segment-angular velocity based, are analysed for the control of the knee joint state (intermittent stiffness) based on the inertial sensors signals. Protocolled tests are developed with two post-polio syndrome patients (PPS). In this study, the cases of gait with free-swinging leg and safe stance with the orthotic system are presented in terms of quantified kinematics (average peak angle of knee flexion of 50°) and evidences of reduction of frequent compensations (e.g. leg lateral movement) in post-polio syndrome patients. The results from immediate inspection indicate an important improvement of the gait patterns in two patients with proximal leg weakness by means of compensations applied by the wearable orthosis.
KeywordsInertial sensing KAFO Gait Actuator Joints disorders
The authors would like to thank L. Bueno for his work and assistance in the development of the control architecture and J. Baydal, W. de Vries and V. Erren, for their enormous contributions in testing and experimentation. The work presented in this paper has been partially founded through grant IST-2001-37751 of the European Commission.
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