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Development of electric cart for improving walking ability — application of control theory to assistive technology

Abstract

This paper explains the development of an electric cart that helps the elderly maintain or improve their physical strength. Unlike commercially available ones, it has a pedal unit that provides some exercise for a user in training his lower limbs. An impedance model describes the feeling of pushing the pedals. The largest pedal load is determined based on a pedaling experiment. An H controller is designed for each of the largest pedal load and virtually no load. A control law, which is based on the concept of dynamic parallel distributed compensation, is designed using the rating of perceived exertion of a driver as a criterion to choose a pedal load between the largest and almost zero. Five university students and twelve elderly people participated experiments to verify the system design and the validity of the system.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI (Grant Nos. 18560259, 26350673), and partially by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant No. 16H02883). This work was also supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61473313, 61210011), Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 2015CFA010), and the 111 Project of China (Grant No. B17040).

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Correspondence to Jinhua She or Yasuhiro Ohyama or Min Wu or Hiroshi Hashimoto.

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She, J., Ohyama, Y., Wu, M. et al. Development of electric cart for improving walking ability — application of control theory to assistive technology. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 60, 123201 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-017-9261-1

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Keywords

  • aging
  • Borg’s scale
  • dynamic parallel distributed compensation
  • electrical cart
  • H control
  • Karvonen formula
  • lower limbs
  • pedaling
  • rating of perceived exertion