An admittance shaping controller for exoskeleton assistance of the lower extremities

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Autonomous Robots, 2016, 40 (4), pp. 701 - 728
Issue Date:
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We present a method for lower-limb exoskeleton control that defines assistance as a desired dynamic response for the human leg. Wearing the exoskeleton can be seen as replacing the leg's natural admittance with the equivalent admittance of the coupled system. The control goal is to make the leg obey an admittance model defined by target values of natural frequency, peak magnitude and zero-frequency response. No estimation of muscle torques or motion intent is necessary. Instead, the controller scales up the coupled system's sensitivity transfer function by means of a compensator employing positive feedback. This approach increases the leg's mobility and makes the exoskeleton an active device capable of performing net positive work on the limb. Although positive feedback is usually considered destabilizing, here performance and robust stability are successfully achieved through a constrained optimization that maximizes the system's gain margins while ensuring the desired location of its dominant poles.
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