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A Preliminary Study on Robot-Assisted Ankle Rehabilitation for the Treatment of Drop Foot

Research paper by Mingming Zhang, Jinghui Cao; Sheng Q. Xie; Guoli Zhu; Xiangfeng Zeng; Xiaolin Huang; Qun Xu

Indexed on: 04 Aug '18Published on: 01 Aug '18Published in: Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems



Abstract

This paper involves the use of a compliant ankle rehabilitation robot (CARR) for the treatment of drop foot. The robot has a bio-inspired design by employing four Festo Fluidic muscles (FFMs) that mimic skeletal muscles actuating three rotational degrees of freedom (DOFs). A trajectory tracking controller was developed in joint task space to track the predefined trajectory of the end effector. This controller was achieved by controlling individual FFM length based on inverse kinematics. Three patients with drop foot participated in a preliminary study to evaluate the potential of the CARR for clinical applications. Ankle stretching exercises along ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion (DP) were delivered for treating drop foot. All patients gave positive feedback in using this ankle robot for the treatment of drop foot, although some limitations exist. The proposed controller showed satisfactory accuracy in trajectory tracking, with all root mean square deviation (RMSD) values no greater than 0.0335 rad and normalized root mean square deviation (NRMSD) values less than 6.7%. These preliminary findings support the potentials of the CARR for clinical applications. Future work will investigate the effectiveness of the robot for treating drop foot on a large sample of subjects.