Experimental validation of motor primitive-based control for leg exoskeletons during continuous multi-locomotion tasks

Virginia Ruiz Garate, Andrea Parri, Tingfang Yan, Marko Munih, Raffaele Molino Lova, Nicola Vitiello, Renaud Ronsse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An emerging approach to design locomotion assistive devices deals with reproducing desirable biological principles of human locomotion. In this paper, we present a bioinspired controller for locomotion assistive devices based on the concept of motor primitives. The weighted combination of artificial primitives results in a set of virtual muscle stimulations. These stimulations then activate a virtual musculoskeletal model producing reference assistive torque profiles for different locomotion tasks (i.e., walking, ascending stairs, and descending stairs). The paper reports the validation of the controller through a set of experiments conducted with healthy participants. The proposed controller was tested for the first time with a unilateral leg exoskeleton assisting hip, knee, and ankle joints by delivering a fraction of the computed reference torques. Importantly, subjects performed a track involving groundlevel walking, ascending stairs, and descending stairs and several transitions between these tasks. These experiments highlighted the capability of the controller to provide relevant assistive torques and to effectively handle transitions between the tasks. Subjects displayed a natural interaction with the device. Moreover, they significantly decreased the time needed to complete the track when the assistance was provided, as compared to wearing the device with no assistance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neurorobotics
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - Mar 17 2017


  • Bioinspired
  • Control
  • Exoskeleton
  • Orthosis
  • Primitives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence

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