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Robotic Cane Controlled to Adapt Automatically to Its User Gait Characteristics

Abstract : Research on robotic assistance devices tries to minimize the risk of falls due to misuse of non-actuated canes. This paper contributes to this research effort by presenting a novel control strategy of a robotic cane that adapts automatically to its user gait characteristics. We verified the proposed control law on a robotic cane sharing the main shape features of a non-actuated cane. It consists of a motorized telescopic shaft mounted on the top of two actuated wheels driven by the same motor. Cane control relies on two Inertial Measurement Units (IMU). One is attached to the cane and the other to the thigh of its user impaired leg. During the swing phase of this leg, the motor of the wheels is controlled to enable the tracking of the impaired leg thigh angle by the cane orientation. The wheels are immobilized during the stance phase to provide motionless mechanical support to the user. The shaft length is continuously adjusted to keep a constant height of the cane handle. The primary goal of this work is to show the feasibility of the cane motion synchronization with its user gait. The control strategy looks promising after several experiments. After further investigations and experiments with end-users, the proposed control law could pave the road toward its use in robotic canes used either as permanent assistance or during rehabilitation.
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Andrés Trujillo-León, Ragou Ady, David Reversat, Wael Bachta. Robotic Cane Controlled to Adapt Automatically to Its User Gait Characteristics. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Frontiers Media S.A., 2020, 7, pp.105. ⟨10.3389/frobt.2020.00105⟩. ⟨hal-03124307⟩

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