Wearable robots are emerging as a viable and effective solution for assisting and enabling people who suffer from balance and mobility disorders. Virtual prototyping is a powerful tool to design robots, preventing the costly iterative physical prototyping and testing. Design of wearable robots through modelling, however, often involves computationally expensive and error-prone multi-body simulations wrapped in an optimization framework to simulate human–robot–environment interactions. This paper proposes a framework to make the human–robot link segment system statically determinate, allowing for the closed-form inverse dynamics formulation of the link–segment model to be solved directly in order to simulate human–robot dynamic interactions. The paper also uses a technique developed by the authors to estimate the walking ground reactions from reference kinematic data, avoiding the need to measure them. The proposed framework is (a) computationally efficient and (b) transparent and easy to interpret, and (c) eliminates the need for optimization, detailed musculoskeletal modelling and measuring ground reaction forces for normal walking simulations. It is used to optimise the position of hip and ankle joints and the actuator torque–velocity requirements for a seven segments of a lower-limb wearable robot that is attached to the user at the shoes and pelvis. Gait measurements were carried out on six healthy subjects, and the data were used for design optimization and validation. The new technique promises to offer a significant advance in the way in which wearable robots can be designed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4081
Issue number13
Early online date23 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2024

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