Adaptive Control Method for Dynamic Synchronization of Wearable Robotic Assistance to Discrete Movements: Validation for Use Case of Lifting Tasks

Francesco Lanotte, Zach McKinney, Lorenzo Grazi, Baojun Chen, Simona Crea, Nicola Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dynamic control of robotic exoskeletons is paramount to ensuring safe, synergistic assistive action of functional benefit to users. To date, exoskeleton controllers have excelled in rhythmic and quasi-rhythmic tasks, whereas control methods for assisting discrete movements remain limited by their task-specificity. Inspired by neurophysiological dynamic movement primitives (DMPs), we formulated a novel controller that facilitated a variety of lifting movements using a single adaptive DMP (aDMP), for wearable robotic assistance of discrete movements. For a variety of load lifting tasks, we first benchmarked our method's trajectory prediction accuracy against the state-of-the-art DMP using passively recorded exoskeleton sensor data (offline), followed by a functional validation of online aDMP trajectory estimates. Finally, we assessed the functional effects of aDMP-based exoskeletal assistance on joint kinematics and muscular activity during repetitive lifting. The new aDMP method accurately predicted and smoothly synchronized robotic assistance with variable movement trajectories, resulting in reduced muscular activation of the erector spinae muscles (up to 47.6%) while preserving lower-limb joint kinematics and reducing the extension time by 15.5% compared to unassisted conditions. This method holds promise for use in a wide range of wearable robotic applications, including both clinical rehabilitation and user assistance in activities of daily living and/or manual labor.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Adaptive control
  • biomechanics
  • electromyography
  • exoskeletons
  • Exoskeletons
  • Hip
  • Real-time systems
  • Robots
  • Task analysis
  • Torque
  • Trajectory
  • wearable robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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