Simulating ideal assistive devices to reduce the metabolic cost of walking with heavy loads.
ABSTRACT: Wearable robotic devices can restore and enhance mobility. There is growing interest in designing devices that reduce the metabolic cost of walking; however, designers lack guidelines for which joints to assist and when to provide the assistance. To help address this problem, we used musculoskeletal simulation to predict how hypothetical devices affect muscle activity and metabolic cost when walking with heavy loads. We explored 7 massless devices, each providing unrestricted torque at one degree of freedom in one direction (hip abduction, hip flexion, hip extension, knee flexion, knee extension, ankle plantarflexion, or ankle dorsiflexion). We used the Computed Muscle Control algorithm in OpenSim to find device torque profiles that minimized the sum of squared muscle activations while tracking measured kinematics of loaded walking without assistance. We then examined the metabolic savings provided by each device, the corresponding device torque profiles, and the resulting changes in muscle activity. We found that the hip flexion, knee flexion, and hip abduction devices provided greater metabolic savings than the ankle plantarflexion device. The hip abduction device had the greatest ratio of metabolic savings to peak instantaneous positive device power, suggesting that frontal-plane hip assistance may be an efficient way to reduce metabolic cost. Overall, the device torque profiles generally differed from the corresponding net joint moment generated by muscles without assistance, and occasionally exceeded the net joint moment to reduce muscle activity at other degrees of freedom. Many devices affected the activity of muscles elsewhere in the limb; for example, the hip flexion device affected muscles that span the ankle joint. Our results may help experimentalists decide which joint motions to target when building devices and can provide intuition for how devices may interact with the musculoskeletal system. The simulations are freely available online, allowing others to reproduce and extend our work.
Project description:Manual muscle testing (MMT) and hand-held dynamometry (HHD) are commonly used in people with inflammatory myopathy (IM), but their clinimetric properties have not yet been sufficiently studied. To evaluate the reliability and validity of MMT and HHD, maximum isometric strength was measured in eight muscle groups across three measurement events. To evaluate reliability of HHD, intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC), the standard error of measurements (SEM) and smallest detectable changes (SDC) were calculated. To measure reliability of MMT linear Cohen`s Kappa was computed for single muscle groups and ICC for total score. Additionally, correlations between MMT8 and HHD were evaluated with Spearman Correlation Coefficients. Fifty people with myositis (56±14 years, 76% female) were included in the study. Intra-and interrater reliability of HHD yielded excellent ICCs (0.75-0.97) for all muscle groups, except for interrater reliability of ankle extension (0.61). The corresponding SEMs% ranged from 8 to 28% and the SDCs% from 23 to 65%. MMT8 total score revealed excellent intra-and interrater reliability (ICC>0.9). Intrarater reliability of single muscle groups was substantial for shoulder and hip abduction, elbow and neck flexion, and hip extension (0.64-0.69); moderate for wrist (0.53) and knee extension (0.49) and fair for ankle extension (0.35). Interrater reliability was moderate for neck flexion (0.54) and hip abduction (0.44); fair for shoulder abduction, elbow flexion, wrist and ankle extension (0.20-0.33); and slight for knee extension (0.08). Correlations between the two tests were low for wrist, knee, ankle, and hip extension; moderate for elbow flexion, neck flexion and hip abduction; and good for shoulder abduction. In conclusion, the MMT8 total score is a reliable assessment to consider general muscle weakness in people with myositis but not for single muscle groups. In contrast, our results confirm that HHD can be recommended to evaluate strength of single muscle groups.
Project description:Soft exosuits are a recent approach for assisting human locomotion, which apply assistive torques to the wearer through functional apparel. Over the past few years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of control individualization for such gait assistive devices to maximize benefit to the wearer. In this paper, we present an updated version of autonomous multi-joint soft exosuit, including an online parameter tuning method that customizes control parameters for each individual based on positive ankle augmentation power.The soft exosuit is designed to assist with plantarflexion, hip flexion, and hip extension while walking. A mobile actuation system is mounted on a military rucksack, and forces generated by the actuation system are transmitted via Bowden cables to the exosuit. The controller performs an iterative force-based position control of the Bowden cables on a step-by-step basis, delivering multi-articular (plantarflexion and hip flexion) assistance during push-off and hip extension assistance in early stance. To individualize the multi-articular assistance, an online parameter tuning method was developed that customizes two control parameters to maximize the positive augmentation power delivered to the ankle. To investigate the metabolic efficacy of the exosuit with wearer-specific parameters, human subject testing was conducted involving walking on a treadmill at 1.50 m s-?1 carrying a 6.8-kg loaded rucksack. Seven participants underwent the tuning process, and the metabolic cost of loaded walking was measured with and without wearing the exosuit using the individualized control parameters.The online parameter tuning method was capable of customizing the control parameters, creating a positive ankle augmentation power map for each individual. The subject-specific control parameters and resultant assistance profile shapes varied across the study participants. The exosuit with the wearer-specific parameters significantly reduced the metabolic cost of load carriage by 14.88?±?1.09% (P?=?5?×?10-?5) compared to walking without wearing the device and by 22.03?±?2.23% (P?=?2?×?10-?5) compared to walking with the device unpowered.The autonomous multi-joint soft exosuit with subject-specific control parameters tuned based on positive ankle augmentation power demonstrated the ability to improve human walking economy. Future studies will further investigate the effect of the augmentation-power-based control parameter tuning on wearer biomechanics and energetics.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Visual estimation (VE) is an essential tool for evaluation of range of motion. Few papers discussed its validity in children orthopedics' practice. The purpose of our study was to assess validity and reliability of VE for passive range of motions (PROMs) of children's lower limbs. METHODS: Fifty typically developing children (100 lower limbs) were examined. Visual estimations for PROMs of hip (flexion, adduction, abduction, internal and external rotations), knee (flexion and popliteal angle) and ankle (dorsiflexion and plantarflexion) were made by a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon (POS) and a 5th year resident in orthopaedics. A last year medical student did goniometric measurements. Three weeks later, same measurements were performed to assess reliability of visual estimation for each examiner. RESULTS: Visual estimations of the POS were highly reliable for hip flexion, hip rotations and popliteal angle (rhoc >or= 0.8). Reliability was good for hip abduction, knee flexion, ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion (rhoc >or= 0.7) but poor for hip adduction (rhoc = 0.5). Reproducibility for all PROMs was verified. Resident's VE showed high reliability (rhoc >or= 0.8) for hip flexion and popliteal angle. Good correlation was found for hip rotations and knee flexion (rhoc >or= 0.7). Poor results were obtained for ankle PROMs (rhoc < 0.6) as well as hip adduction and abduction, the results of which not being reproducible. Influence of experience was clearly demonstrated for PROMs of hip rotations, adduction and abduction as well as ankle plantarflexion. CONCLUSION: Accuracy of VE of passive hip flexion and knee PROMs is high regardless of the examiner's experience. Same accuracy can be found for hip rotations and abduction whenever VE is performed by an experienced examiner. Goniometric evaluation is recommended for passive hip adduction and for ankle PROMs.
Project description:Although stroke survivors often display abnormal joint torque patterns, studies of torque-coupling in the lower limb are lacking, despite their potential impact on gait abnormalities.Twenty-two chronic ambulating stroke subjects and 11 age-matched control subjects produced isometric hip torques in the frontal and sagittal planes with the hemiparetic leg (or randomly selected leg for the control group) in postures that resemble stages of gait. The involuntary knee torques were also recorded although no feedback or instructions were given.In the toe-off and midswing postures, the stroke group had a significant torque bias toward extension and adduction, whereas the control group had a symmetric torque space. The stroke group also produced significantly smaller torques than the control group in the flexion and abduction/flexion directions. Finally, the stroke group displayed abnormal coupling of knee extension with hip adduction, unique to the toe-off position.Whereas gait abnormalities after stroke have been attributed to a number of factors, including sagittal plane strength impairments at the hip, knee, and ankle, our findings indicate that neuromechanical changes after stroke may play a significant role in determining the nature of the movement abnormality. Specifically, abnormal hip adduction and knee extension torque coupling was observed, in addition to direction-specific hip torque weakness. Future studies are needed to delineate the differential contributions of each potential factor to gait abnormalities. Understanding the underlying neuromechanical changes after stroke may aid the development of rehabilitation strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ankle exoskeletons offer a promising opportunity to offset mechanical deficits after stroke by applying the needed torque at the paretic ankle. Because joint torque is related to gait speed, it is important to consider the user's gait speed when determining the magnitude of assistive joint torque. We developed and tested a novel exoskeleton controller for delivering propulsive assistance which modulates exoskeleton torque magnitude based on both soleus muscle activity and walking speed. The purpose of this research is to assess the impact of the resulting exoskeleton assistance on post-stroke walking performance across a range of walking speeds. METHODS:Six participants with stroke walked with and without assistance applied to a powered ankle exoskeleton on the paretic limb. Walking speed started at 60% of their comfortable overground speed and was increased each minute (n00, n01, n02, etc.). We measured lower limb joint and limb powers, metabolic cost of transport, paretic and non-paretic limb propulsion, and trailing limb angle. RESULTS:Exoskeleton assistance increased with walking speed, verifying the speed-adaptive nature of the controller. Both paretic ankle joint power and total limb power increased significantly with exoskeleton assistance at six walking speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03, n04, n05). Despite these joint- and limb-level benefits associated with exoskeleton assistance, no subject averaged metabolic benefits were evident when compared to the unassisted condition. Both paretic trailing limb angle and integrated anterior paretic ground reaction forces were reduced with assistance applied as compared to no assistance at four speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that despite appropriate scaling of ankle assistance by the exoskeleton controller, suboptimal limb posture limited the conversion of exoskeleton assistance into forward propulsion. Future studies could include biofeedback or verbal cues to guide users into limb configurations that encourage the conversion of mechanical power at the ankle to forward propulsion. TRIAL REGISTRATION:N/A.
Project description:Joint angle data from healthy subjects are necessary as baseline information.To analyze the problems of patients who struggle with activities of daily living (ADL) due to restricted range of motion and to provide ADL guidance based on objective data.An electromagnetic three-dimensional tracking system (FASTRAK) was used to quantify the hip, knee, and ankle angles of the dominant leg of 26 healthy adults as they performed 22 ADLs related to dressing, using the toilet, bathing, picking up objects, and crouching. For each ADL, the maximum angle was averaged across the 26 subjects. Mean angles of adduction/abduction and internal/external rotation during maximum hip flexion were also measured.The largest mean maximum angle was 101° for hip flexion (trunk rotation during crouching), 17° for hip adduction (putting on shoes), and 149° for knee flexion (trunk rotation during crouching). Analysis of adduction/abduction and internal/external rotation angles during maximum hip flexion showed the largest angle of adduction when putting on shoes, and the largest angle of internal rotation with trunk rotation during crouching.ADLs such as crouching and putting on pants showed larger joint angles than walking, climbing stairs, and standing up. Results obtained from this study can provide important objective data for ADL guidance for total hip arthroplasty and femoroacetabular impingement patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Elevated energy cost is a hallmark feature of gait in older adults. As such, older adults display a general avoidance of walking which contributes to declining health status and risk of morbidity. Exoskeletons offer a great potential for lowering the energy cost of walking, however their complexity and cost often limit their use. To overcome some of these issues, in the present work we propose a passive wearable assistive device, namely Exoband, that applies a torque to the hip flexors thus reducing the net metabolic power of wearers. METHODS:Nine participants (age: 62.1 ± 5.6 yr; height: 1.71 ± 0.05 m; weight: 76.3 ± 11.9 kg) walked on a treadmill at a speed of 1.1 m/s with and without the Exoband. Metabolic power was measured by indirect calorimetry and spatio-temporal parameters measured using an optical measurement system. Heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion were recorded during data collection to monitor relative intensity of the walking trials. RESULTS:The Exoband was able to provide a consistent torque (~ 0.03-0.05 Nm/kg of peak torque) to the wearers. When walking with the Exoband, participants displayed a lower net metabolic power with respect to free walking (- 3.3 ± 3.0%; p = 0.02). There were no differences in spatio-temporal parameters or relative intensities when walking with or without the Exoband. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated that it is possible to reduce metabolic power during walking in older adults with the assistance of a passive device that applies a torque to the hip joint. Wearable, lightweight and low-cost devices such as the Exoband have the potential to make walking less metabolically demanding for older individuals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the last decades, several powered ankle-foot orthoses have been developed to assist the ankle joint of their users during walking. Recent studies have shown that the effects of the assistance provided by powered ankle-foot orthoses depend on the assistive profile. In compliant actuators, the stiffness level influences the actuator's performance. However, the effects of this parameter on the users has not been yet evaluated. The goal of this study is to assess the effects of the assistance provided by a variable stiffness ankle actuator on healthy young users. More specifically, the effect of different onset times of the push-off torque and different actuator's stiffness levels has been investigated. METHODS:Eight healthy subjects walked with a unilateral powered ankle-foot orthosis in several assisted walking trials. The powered orthosis was actuated in the sagittal plane by a variable stiffness actuator. During the assisted walking trials, three different onset times of the push-off assistance and three different actuator's stiffness levels were used. The metabolic cost of walking, lower limb muscles activation, joint kinematics, and gait parameters measured during different assisted walking trials were compared to the ones measured during normal walking and walking with the powered orthosis not providing assistance. RESULTS:This study found trends for more compliant settings of the ankle actuator resulting in bigger reductions of the metabolic cost of walking and soleus muscle activation in the stance phase during assisted walking as compared to the unassisted walking trial. In addition to this, the study found that, among the tested onset times, the earlier ones showed a trend for bigger reductions of the activation of the soleus muscle during stance, while the later ones led to a bigger reduction in the metabolic cost of walking in the assisted walking trials as compared to the unassisted condition. CONCLUSIONS:This study presents a first attempt to show that, together with the assistive torque profile, also the stiffness level of a compliant ankle actuator can influence the assistive performance of a powered ankle-foot orthosis.
Project description:Technologies that augment human performance are the focus of intensive research and development, driven by advances in wearable robotic systems. Success has been limited by the challenge of understanding human-robot interaction. To address this challenge, we developed an optimization framework to synthesize a realistic human standing long jump and used the framework to explore how simulated wearable robotic devices might enhance jump performance.A planar, five-segment, seven-degree-of-freedom model with physiological torque actuators, which have variable torque capacity depending on joint position and velocity, was used to represent human musculoskeletal dynamics. An active augmentation device was modeled as a torque actuator that could apply a single pulse of up to 100 Nm of extension torque. A passive design was modeled as rotational springs about each lower limb joint. Dynamic optimization searched for physiological and device actuation patterns to maximize jump distance.Optimization of the nominal case yielded a 2.27 m jump that captured salient kinematic and kinetic features of human jumps. When the active device was added to the ankle, knee, or hip, jump distance increased to between 2.49 and 2.52 m. Active augmentation of all three joints increased the jump distance to 3.10 m. The passive design increased jump distance to 3.32 m by adding torques of 135, 365, and 297 Nm to the ankle, knee, and hip, respectively.Dynamic optimization can be used to simulate a standing long jump and investigate human-robot interaction.Simulation can aid in the design of performance-enhancing technologies.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>The present study investigated whether neuromuscular electrical stimulation for 20 min twice a day with an electrode placed over the soleus muscle and nutritional supplementation with 19 g of protein rich lupin seeds can reduce the loss in volume and strength of the human calf musculature during long term unloading by wearing an orthotic unloading device.<h4>Methods</h4>Thirteen healthy male subjects (age of 26.4 ± 3.7 years) wore a Hephaistos orthosis one leg for 60 days during all habitual activities. The leg side was randomly chosen for every subject. Six subjects only wore the orthosis as control group, and 7 subjects additionally received the countermeasure consisting of neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the soleus and lateral gastrocnemius muscles and lupin protein supplementation. Twenty-eight days before and on the penultimate day of the intervention cross-sectional images of the calf muscles were taken by magnetic resonance imaging (controls n = 5), and maximum voluntary torque (controls n = 6) of foot plantar flexion was estimated under isometric (extended knee, 90° knee flexion) and isokinetic conditions (extended knee), respectively.<h4>Results</h4>After 58 days of wearing the orthosis the percentage loss of volume in the entire triceps surae muscle of the control subjects (-11.9 ± 4.4%, mean ± standard deviation) was reduced by the countermeasure (-3.5 ± 7.2%, p = 0.032). Wearing the orthosis generally reduced plantar flexion torques values, however, only when testing isometric contraction at 90° knee ankle the countermeasure effected a significantly lower percentage decrease of torque (-9.7 ± 7.2%, mean ± SD) in comparison with controls (-22.3 ± 11.2%, p = 0.032).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Unloading of calf musculature by an orthotic device resulted in the expected loss of muscle volume and maximum of plantar flexion torque. Neuromuscular electrical muscle stimulation and lupin protein supplementation could significantly reduce the process of atrophy.<h4>Trial registration</h4>ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT02698878.