Independent User Control of a Lower Extremity Exoskeleton

Current lower extremity exoskeletons are both under-actuated and lack effective user control that allows independent ambulation.  Rather than employ computer-generated patterns, the movements of the hands will be used as analogs of user-generated foot patterns.  With the hands rigidly linked to the feet, the forces generated by the hands will directly operate an admittance controlled exoskeleton as well as receive feedback. 

A 1/2 scale robot controlled by a pair of trekking poles is being evaluated in the laboratory.  A human-scale admittance-controlled exoskeleton is being developed with six degrees of freedom in each leg, with force-measuring trekking poles and sensor-based ground force detection.