Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Research Topics

The key objective of the project is the development and clinical study of a novel step rehabilitation robot prototype. Research activities are clustered according to the four research challenges to be addressed.

Active Ankle Assistance

  • Integrating a powered ankle-foot structure into the gait rehabilitation exoskeleton prototype design that is capable of fully supporting the ankle joint.

  • Clinical assessment of active ankle support. Study of the influence on gait (kinematics, kinetics, muscle activity) and on gait rehabilitation outcome.

Natural Load Distribution
  • Design the exoskeleton prototype for full body weight supporting capacity without relying on a suspension system.

  • Studying the effects of overhead and exoskeleton body weight support on gait kinematics and physiology.

Functional Gait Movements
  • Incorporating three dimensional mobility into the exoskeleton prototype design.

  • Evaluating the effects of three dimensional movement support on balance, gait kinematics and physiology.

Compliant Human-Robot Interaction
  • Applying "adaptable compliance" concepts both in the exoskeleton hardware (compliant actuators) and software (dedicated control strategies). Studying and evaluating the benefits of intrinsic and controlled adaptable compliance in view of safety, interaction-oriented assistance and "soft" interaction.

  • Identifying and evaluating the clinical effects of human-robot interaction in different interaction scenarios, e.g. spasticity, voluntary muscle activity.

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