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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2013, Article ID 535106, 20 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/535106
Research Article

Design and Evaluation of the AIRGAIT Exoskeleton: Leg Orthosis Control for Assistive Gait Rehabilitation

1Shibaura Institute of Technology, Department of Bio-Science Engineering, 307 Fukasaku, Minuma-ku, Saitama City, Saitama 337-8570, Japan
2Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, 81310 UTM Skudai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Received 18 July 2013; Accepted 21 September 2013

Academic Editor: Kazuhiko Terashima

Copyright © 2013 Mohd Azuwan Mat Dzahir and Shin-Ichiroh Yamamoto. 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 introduces the body weight support gait training system known as the AIRGAIT exoskeleton and delves into the design and evaluation of its leg orthosis control algorithm. The implementation of the mono- and biarticular pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs) as the actuation system was initiated to generate more power and precisely control the leg orthosis. This research proposes a simple paradigm for controlling the mono- and bi-articular actuator movements cocontractively by introducing a cocontraction model. Three tests were performed. The first test involved control of the orthosis with monoarticular actuators alone without a subject (WO/S); the second involved control of the orthosis with mono- and bi-articular actuators tested WO/S; and the third test involved control of the orthosis with mono- and bi-articular actuators tested with a subject (W/S). Full body weight support (BWS) was implemented in this study during the test W/S as the load supported by the orthosis was at its maximum capacity. This assessment will optimize the control system strategy so that the system operates to its full capacity. The results revealed that the proposed control strategy was able to co-contractively actuate the mono- and bi-articular actuators simultaneously and increase stiffness at both hip and knee joints.