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01-12-2020 | Original Article | Issue 1/2020 Open Access

Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering 1/2020

Design of a Passive Gait-based Ankle-foot Exoskeleton with Self-adaptive Capability

Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering > Issue 1/2020
Xiangyang Wang, Sheng Guo, Bojian Qu, Majun Song, Haibo Qu


Propulsion during push-off is the key to realizing human locomotion. Humans have evolved a way of walking with high energy utilization, but it can be further improved. Drawing inspiration from the muscle-tendon unit, a passive spring-actuated ankle-foot exoskeleton is designed to assist with human walking and to lengthen walking duration by mechanically enhancing walking efficiency. Detection of the gait events is realized using a smart clutch, which is designed to detect the contact states between the shoe sole and the ground, and automatically switch its working state. The engagement of a suspended spring behind the human calf muscles is hence controlled and is in synchrony with gait. The device is completely passive and contains no external power source. Energy is stored and returned passively using the clutch. In our walking trials, the soleus electromyography activity is reduced by as much as 72.2% when the proposed ankle-foot exoskeleton is worn on the human body. The influence of the exoskeleton on walking habits is also studied. The results show the potential use of the exoskeleton in humans’ daily life.
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