Cooperative control for a hybrid rehabilitation system combining functional electrical stimulation and robotic exoskeleton

Dingguo Zhang, Yong Ren, Kai Gui, Jie Jia, Wendong Xu

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30 Citations (SciVal)


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) and robotic exoskeletons are two important technologies widely used for physical rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. We developed a hybrid rehabilitation system (FEXO Knee) that combined FES and an exoskeleton for swinging movement control of human knee joints. This study proposed a novel cooperative control strategy, which could realize arbitrary distribution of torque generated by FES and exoskeleton, and guarantee harmonic movements. The cooperative control adopted feedfoward control for FES and feedback control for exoskeleton. A parameter regulator was designed to update key parameters in real time to coordinate FES controller and exoskeleton controller. Two muscle groups (quadriceps and hamstrings) were stimulated to generate active torque for knee joint in synchronization with torque compensation from exoskeleton. The knee joint angle and the interactive torque between exoskeleton and shank were used as feedback signals for the control system. Central pattern generator (CPG) was adopted that acted as a phase predictor to deal with phase confliction of motor patterns, and realized synchronization between the two different bodies (shank and exoskeleton). Experimental evaluation of the hybrid FES-exoskeleton system was conducted on five healthy subjects and four paraplegic patients. Experimental results and statistical analysis showed good control performance of the cooperative control on torque distribution, trajectory tracking, and phase synchronization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number725
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberDEC
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017


  • Central pattern generator
  • Cooperative control
  • Functional electrical stimulation
  • Hybrid rehabilitation
  • Knee exoskeleton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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