Skip to main content

Development of a Soft Exosuit System for Walking Assistance During Stair Ascent and Descent

Abstract

An exosuit is a wearable robot that supports human muscular strength from outside the human body through multiple actuators. These actuators, which have similar functions to human muscles, reduce the weight compared to existing exoskeletons and minimize awareness of the different degrees of freedom. In this study, we developed an exosuit system that assists stair ascent and descent by supporting the power of the knee joint. To develop the hardware, we designed the entire system including functional apparel and a wire-driven actuator module. To provide the exosuit wearer with walking assistance, we established control strategies based on gait analysis and a force controller by applying the admittance control method. Then, to verify the usability of this system, we conducted an experiment comparing the muscle activity of users with and without the exosuit. The results revealed that the overall muscle activity of users decreased when they wore the proposed exosuit system. Specifically, the system reduced the muscle activity of the rectus femoris by up to 47% and 31% during stair ascent and descent, respectively. Therefore, the proposed exosuit system provides effective walking assistance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. [1]

    W. Kim, S. Lee, M. Kang, J. Han, and C. Han, “Energyefficient gait pattern generation of the powered robotic exoskeleton using DME,” Proc. of IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 2475–2480, 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  2. [2]

    H. Lee, W. Kim, J. Han, and C. Han, “The technical trend of the exoskeleton robot system for power assistance,” International journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing, vol. 13, no. 8, pp. 1491–1497, 2012.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. [3]

    A. T. Asbeck, S. M. De Rossi, K. G. Holt, and C. J. Walsh, “A biologically inspired soft exosuit for walking assistance,” The International Journal of Robotics Research, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 744–762, 2015.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. [4]

    K. Schmidt, J. E. Duarte, M. Grimmer, A. Sancho-Puchades, H. Wei, C. S. Easthope, and R. Riener, “The Myosuit: Bi-articular anti-gravity exosuit that reduces hip extensor activity in sitting transfers,” Frontiers in Neurorobotics, vol. 11, pp. 57, 2017.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. [5]

    S. Sridar, Z. Qiao, N. Muthukrishnan, W. Zhang, and P. Polygerinos, “A soft-inflatable exosuit for knee rehabilitation: assisting swing phase during walking,” Frontiers in Robotics and AI, vol. 5, pp. 44, 2018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. [6]

    A. T. Asbeck, R. J. Dyer, A. F. Larusson, and C. J. Walsh, “Biologically-inspired soft exosuit,” Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, pp. 1–8, 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  7. [7]

    N. Karavas, J. Kim, I. Galiana, Y. Ding, A. Couture, D. Wagner, A. Eckert-Erdheim, and C. Walsh, “Autonomous soft exosuit for hip extension assistance,” Wearable Robotics: Challenges and Trends, Springer International Publishing, pp. 331–335, 2017.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  8. [8]

    Y. Ding, F. A. Panizzolo, C. Siviy, P. Malcolm, I. Galiana, K. G. Holt, and C. J. Walsh, “Effect of timing of hip extension assistance during loaded walking with a soft exosuit,” Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 87, 2016.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. [9]

    R. Mustafaoglu, B. Unver, and V. Karatosun, “Evaluation of stair climbing in elderly people,” Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 509–516, 2015.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. [10]

    H. D. Lee, J. I. Moon, and T. H. Kang, “Design of a series elastic tendon actuator based on gait analysis for a walking assistance exosuit,” International Journal of Control, Automation and Systems, vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 2940–2947, 2019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. [11]

    G. A. Pratt and M. M. Williamson, “Series elastic actuators,” Proc. of IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 399–406, 1995.

    Google Scholar 

  12. [12]

    J. R. Gage, P. A. Deluca, and T. S. Renshaw, “Gait analysis: principles and applications,” The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, vol. 77, no. 10, pp. 1607–1623, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. [13]

    R. Riener, M. Rabuffetti, and C. Frigo, “Stair ascent and descent at different inclinations,” Gait & Posture, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 32–44, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. [14]

    M. M. Skelly and H. J. Chizeck, “Real-time gait event detection for paraplegic Fes walking,” IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 59–68, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. [15]

    K. Kong and M. Tomizuka, “A gait monitoring system based on air pressure sensors embedded in a shoe,” IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 358–370, 2009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. [16]

    J. Bae, K. Kong, N. Byl, and M. Tomizuka, “A mobile gait monitoring system for gait analysis,” Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, pp. 73–79, 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  17. [17]

    D. H. Lim, W. S. Kim, H. J. Kim, and C. S. Han, “Development of real-time gait phase detection system for a lower extremity exoskeleton robot,” International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 681–687, 2017.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. [18]

    Y. Ding, I. Galiana, A. Asbeck, B. Quinlivan, S. M. M. de Rossi, and C. Walsh, “Multi-joint actuation platform for lower extremity soft exosuits,” Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp. 1327–1334, 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  19. [19]

    A. Peer, Design and Control of Admittance-Type Telemanipulation Systems, VDI-Verlag, 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  20. [20]

    T. S. Buchanan, D. G. Lloyd, K. Manal, and T. F. Besier, “Neuromusculoskeletal modeling: estimation of muscle forces and joint moments and movements from measurements of neural command,” Journal of Applied Biomechanics, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 367–395, 2004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. [21]

    D. H. Hong and K. W. Oh, “Performance evaluation of excavator control device with EMG-based fatigue analysis,” International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 193–199, 2014.

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. [22]

    H. Y. Jang, Y. H. Ji, J. S. Han, A. M. Khan, J. Y. Ahn, and C. S. Han, “Development and verification of upper extremities wearable robots to aid muscular strength with the optimization of link parameters,” International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing, vol. 16, no. 12, pp. 2569–2575, 2015.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hee Don Lee.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Recommended by Associate Editor Quoc Chi Nguyen under the direction of Editor Myo Taeg Lim. This work was supported by the Technology Innovation Program (10084657, Development of Functional Safety Technology and Risk Assessment Mitigation Technology based on International Safety Standards for Robots Operating in Human Contact Environment and 10060076, Development of a suit type exoskeleton which consist of actuator modules in the 50W class and a control method based on the human-robot muscle model for human power assistance) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE, Korea).

Hee Don Lee received his B.S. degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the Catholic University of Daegu, Korea, in 2006, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Hanyang University, Korea, in 2008 and 2014, respectively. He is currently a senior researcher in DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology). His research interests include wearable robots, physical humanrobot interactions, bio-mechanics, and robot force control.

Heejin Park received his B.S. degree in Electronic Engineering, Keimyung University, Korea, in 2010, and an M.S. degree from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Kyungpook National University, Korea, in 2011. He has been a Researcher at DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology) since 2011. His research interests are system control, rehabilitation robots, and smart factories.

Bak Seongho received his B.S. degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chonbuk National University, Korea, in 2014, and his M.S. degree from the Department of Robotics Engineering, DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology), Korea, in 2016. From 2016 to 2019, he was a researcher in DGIST, Korea. He is currently a Ph.D. student in GIST (Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology), Korea. His research interests include deep learning, deep reinforcement learning, and CAD feature detection.

Tae Hun Kang received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sung Kyun Kwan University, Korea, in 2000, 2002, and 2006, respectively. From 2006 to 2011, he was a Senior Research Scientist in PIRO (Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics), Korea. He was Adjunct Professor with Yeung Nam University, Korea, from 2010 to 2012. Since 2013, he has been with DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology), Korea. He is a Principal Research Scientist and Head of Division of Intelligent Robot in DGIST. His interest includes Healthcare Robot, Rehabilitation Robot, Legged Robot, Robot Mechanism Design, and Field Application of Robot.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lee, H.D., Park, H., Seongho, B. et al. Development of a Soft Exosuit System for Walking Assistance During Stair Ascent and Descent. Int. J. Control Autom. Syst. 18, 2678–2686 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12555-019-0584-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Exosuit
  • exosuit control
  • exosuit design
  • power assistive robot
  • walking assistance robot
  • wearable robot