Teleoperation of an ankle-foot prosthesis with a wrist exoskeleton

Well this is simply a cool idea. Well done to Welker and coworkers.

Abstract:Objective: We aimed to develop a system for people with amputation that non-invasively restores missing control and sensory information for an ankle-foot prosthesis. Methods: In our approach, a wrist exoskeleton allows people with amputation to control and receive feedback from their prosthetic ankle via teleoperation. We implemented two control schemes: position control with haptic feedback of ankle torque at the wrist; and torque control that allows the user to modify a baseline torque profile by moving their wrist against a virtual spring. We measured tracking error and frequency response for the ankle-foot prosthesis and the wrist exoskeleton. To demonstrate feasibility and evaluate system performance, we conducted an experiment in which one participant with a transtibial amputation tracked desired wrist trajectories during walking, while we measured wrist and ankle response. Results: Benchtop testing demonstrated that for relevant walking frequencies, system error was below human perceptual error. During the walking experiment, the participant was able to voluntarily follow different wrist trajectories with an average RMS error of 1.55° after training. The ankle was also able to track desired trajectories below human perceptual error for both position control (RMSE = 0.8°) and torque control (RMSE = 8.4%). Conclusion: We present a system that allows a user with amputation to control an ankle-foot prosthesis and receive feedback about its state using a wrist exoskeleton, with accuracy comparable to biological neuromotor control. Significance: This bilateral teleoperation system enables novel prosthesis control and feedback strategies that could improve prosthesis control and aid motor learning.Published in: IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering ( Early Access )

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