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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 119-134
http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/ABB-140099

Design Considerations of a Lower Limb Exoskeleton System to Assist walking and Load-Carrying of Infantry Soldiers

Seungnam Yu,1 Changsoo Han,2 and Ilje Cho1

1Remote System Technology Development Section, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Deajeon, Korea
2Department of Robot Engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan, Korea

Copyright © 2014 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper describes the development of a wearable exoskeleton system for the lower extremities of infantry soldiers and proposes appropriate design criteria based on existing case studies. Because infantry soldiers carry a variety of equipment, the interference with existing equipment and additional burden of the exoskeleton support system should be minimized. Recent studies have shown that a user only needs to be supported in the gravitational direction when walking on flat terrain; however, active joints are necessary to support walking over rough and sloped terrain such as mountains. Thus, an underactuated exoskeleton system was considered: passive joints are applied to the hip and ankle joints, and active joints are applied to the knee joints to exploit the dynamic coupling effect of the link structure and muscular activation patterns when the user is going up and down stairs. A prototype of the exoskeleton system was developed and validated through a simple stair-climbing experiment.