Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Design of active orthoses for a robotic gait rehabilitation system

  • 257 Accesses

  • 6 Citations


An active orthosis (AO) is a robotic device that assists both human gait and rehabilitation therapy. This work proposes portable AOs, one for the knee joint and another for the ankle joint. Both AOs will be used to complete a robotic system that improves gait rehabilitation. The requirements for actuator selection, the biomechanical considerations during the AO design, the finite element method, and a control approach based on electroencephalographic and surface electromyographic signals are reviewed. This work contributes to the design of AOs for users with foot drop and knee flexion impairment. However, the potential of the proposed AOs to be part of a robotic gait rehabilitation system that improves the quality of life of stroke survivors requires further investigation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Belda-Lois J M, Mena-del Horno S, Bermejo-Bosch I, et al. Rehabilitation of gait after stroke: A review towards a top-down approach. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 2011, 8 (1): 66

  2. 2.

    Shorter K A, Xia J, Hsiao-Wecksler E T, et al. Technologies for powered ankle-foot orthotic systems: Possibilities and challenges. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2013, 18(1): 337–347

  3. 3.

    Viteckova S, Kutilek P, Jirina M. Wearable lower limb robotics: A review. Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, 2013, 33(2): 96–105

  4. 4.

    Prange G B, Jannink M J A, Groothuis-Oudshoorn C G M, et al. Systematic review of the effect of robot-aided therapy on recovery of the hemiparetic arm after stroke. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2006, 43(2): 171–184

  5. 5.

    Pons J L, Moreno J C, Brunetti F J, et al. Lower-limb wearable exoskeleton. In: Kommu S S, ed. Rehabilitation Robotics. Vienna: Itech Education and Publishing, 2007, 1: 648

  6. 6.

    Valadao C, Lotério F, Cardoso V, et al. Robotic walker to assist and monitor physiotherapy sessions. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Assistive Technologies. Vitória, 2015

  7. 7.

    Tausel L, Cifuentes C A, Rodriguez C, et al. Human-walker interaction on slopes based on LRF and IMU sensors. In: Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (2014 5th IEEE RAS EMBS International Conference). Sao Paulo: IEEE, 2014, 227–232

  8. 8.

    Hussain S, Xie S Q, Liu G. Robot assisted treadmill training: Mechanisms and training strategies. Medical Engineering & Physics, 2011, 33(5): 527–533

  9. 9.

    Low K H, Yin Y. An integrated lower exoskeleton system towards design of a portable active orthotic device. International Journal of Robotics and Automation, 2007, 22(1): 32–43

  10. 10.

    Hussain S, Xie S Q, Jamwal P K. Adaptive impedance control of a robotic orthosis for gait rehabilitation. IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, 2013, 43(3): 1025–1034

  11. 11.

    Bortole M, Venkatakrishnan A, Zhu F, et al. The H2 robotic exoskeleton for gait rehabilitation after stroke: Early findings from a clinical study. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 2015, 12(1): 54

  12. 12.

    Yoshizawa N. Active AFO with ankle joint brake friction control using force observer. In: Proceedings of Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2012 Annual International Conference of the IEEE. San Diego: IEEE, 2012, 1900–1903

  13. 13.

    Onen U, Botsali F M, Kalyoncu M, et al. Design and actuator selection of a lower extremity exoskeleton. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 2013, 1: 1–10

  14. 14.

    Winter D A. Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement. 2nd ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2009

  15. 15.

    Pons J L. Wearable Robots: Biomechatronic Exoskeletons. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2008

  16. 16.

    Madeti B K, Chalamalasetti S R, siva rao Bolla Pragada S K S. Biomechanics of knee joint—A review. Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2015, 10(2): 1–10

  17. 17.

    McGibbon C A, Krebs D E. Discriminating age and disability effects in locomotion: Neuromuscular adaptations in musculoskeletal pathology. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2004, 96(1): 149–160

  18. 18.

    Lobo-Prat J, Kooren P N, Stienen A H, et al. Non-invasive control interfaces for intention detection in active movement-assistive devices. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 2014, 11 (1): 168

  19. 19.

    Chaffin B, Gunnar B, Andersson J, et al. Occupational biomechanics, 4th edition. Professional Safety, 2006, 51(8): 58

  20. 20.

    Kelly B M, Spires M C, Restrepo J A. Orthotic and prosthetic prescriptions for today and tomorrow. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 2007, 18(4): 785–858

  21. 21.

    Mills P M, Barrett R S. Swing phase mechanics of healthy young and elderly men. Human Movement Science, 2001, 20(4–5): 427–446

  22. 22.

    Pfurtscheller G, Lopes da Silva F H. Event-related EEG/MEG synchronization and desynchronization: Basic principles. Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, 1999, 110(11): 1842–1857

  23. 23.

    Merletti R, Parker P. Electromyography: Physiology, Engineering, and Noninvasive Applications. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2004

  24. 24.

    Wafai L, Zayegh A, Begg R, et al. Asymmetry detection during pathological gait using a plantar pressure sensing system. In: Proceedings of 2013 7th IEEE GCC Conference and Exhibition (GCC). Doha: IEEE, 2013, 182–187

  25. 25.

    Lin L I. A concordance correlation coefficient to evaluate reproducibility. Biometrics, 1989, 45(1): 255–268

  26. 26.

    Vijay M. The Digital Signal Processing Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2009

  27. 27.

    Lalitharatne T D, Teramoto K, Hayashi Y, et al. Towards hybrid EEG-EMG-based control approaches to be used in bio-robotics applications: Current status, challenges and future directions. Paladyn Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 2013, 4: 147–154

  28. 28.

    Nymark J R, Balmer S J, Melis E H, et al. Electromyographic and kinematic nondisabled gait differences at extremely slow overground and treadmill walking speeds. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2005, 42(4): 523–534

  29. 29.

    Ishikura T. Biomechanical analysis of weight bearing force and muscle activation levels in the lower extremities during gait with a walker. Acta Medica Okayama, 2001, 55(2): 73–82

  30. 30.

    Martins M, Elias A, Cifuentes C, et al. Assessment of walkerassisted gait based on principal component analysis and wireless inertial sensors. Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Biomédica, 2014, 30(3): 220–231

  31. 31.

    Browning R C, Kram R. Effects of obesity on the biomechanics of walking at different speeds. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2007, 39(9): 1632–1641

  32. 32.

    Chironis N P, Sclater N. Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001

  33. 33.

    Veneman J F. A series elastic- and Bowden-cable-based actuation system for use as torque actuator in exoskeleton-type robots. International Journal of Robotics Research, 2006, 25(3): 261–281

  34. 34.

    Karavas N C, Tsagarakis N G, Caldwell D G. Design, modeling and control of a series elastic actuator for an assistive knee exoskeleton. In: Proceedings of 2012 4th IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob). Sao Paulo: IEEE, 2012, 1813–1819

  35. 35.

    Veneva I. Intelligent device for control of active ankle-foot orthosis. Biomedical Engineering, 2010, 7: 100–105

  36. 36.

    Cheung J T M, Zhang M. Parametric design of pressure-relieving foot orthosis using statistics-based finite element method. Medical Engineering & Physics, 2008, 30(3): 269–277

  37. 37.

    Chin R, Hsiao-Wecksler E T, Loth E, et al. A pneumatic power harvesting ankle-foot orthosis to prevent foot-drop. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 2009, 6(19): 1–11

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to A. C. Villa-Parra.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Villa-Parra, A.C., Broche, L., Delisle-Rodríguez, D. et al. Design of active orthoses for a robotic gait rehabilitation system. Front. Mech. Eng. 10, 242–254 (2015).

Download citation


  • active orthosis
  • gait rehabilitation
  • electroencephalography
  • surface electromyography