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Hardware Development and Locomotion Control Strategy for an Over-Ground Gait Trainer: NaTUre-Gaits

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Design and validation of an over-ground gait rehabilitation system, NaTUre-gaits, that predicts individual-specific gait patterns for a more natural walking rhythm. Preliminary tests show that NaTUre-gaits provides reduction in manpower, successful task-specific repetitive training and natural walking gait patterns.
Design and validation of an over-ground gait rehabilitation system, NaTUre-gaits, that predicts individual-specific gait patterns for a more natural walking rhythm. Preliminary tests show that NaTUre-gaits provides reduction in manpower, successful task-specific repetitive training and natural walking gait patterns.

Therapist-assisted body weight supported (TABWS) gait rehabilitation was introduced two decades ago. The benefit of TABWS in functional recovery of walking in spinal cord injury and stroke patients has been demonstrated and reported. However, shortage of therapists, labor-intensiveness, and short duration of training are some limitations of this approach. To overcome these deficiencies, robotic-assisted gait rehabilitation systems have been suggested. These systems have gained attentions from researchers and clinical practitioner in recent years. To achieve the same objective, an over-ground gait rehabilitation system, NaTUre-gaits, was developed at the Nanyang Technological University. The design was based on a clinical approach to provide four main features, which are pelvic motion, body weight support, over-ground walking experience, and lower limb assistance. These features can be achieved by three main modules of NaTUre-gaits: 1) pelvic assistance mechanism, mobile platform, and robotic orthosis. Predefined gait patterns are required for a robotic assisted system to follow. In this paper, the gait pattern planning for NaTUre-gaits was accomplished by an individual-specific gait pattern prediction model. The model generates gait patterns that resemble natural gait patterns of the targeted subjects. The features of NaTUre-gaits have been demonstrated by walking trials with several subjects. The trials have been evaluated by therapists and doctors. The results show that 10-m walking trial with a reduction in manpower. The task-specific repetitive training approach and natural walking gait patterns were also successfully achieved.
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Authors

See complete bios of the authors in the full version of this article.
TP LuuTP Luu
Mr. Luu is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests are lower and upper limb motor control strategies, and robotic rehabilitation systems.

KH LowKH Low
Dr. Low is currently a Professor with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang
Technological University, Singapore. His teaching and research interests include robotics, vibrations, impacts, exoskeleton systems, mechatronics design, machines, and mechanisms.

X QuX Qu
Dr. Qu is currently an Assistant Professor with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests are in the areas of occupational biomechanics, and industrial ergonomics.

HB LimHB Lim
Mr. Lim is currently a Mechanical Design Engineer with Singapore Polytechnic. His research interests are functional motor recovery and assisted rehabilitation devices.

KH HoonKH Hoon
Dr. Hoon is an Associate Professor with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interest has been primary in stress analysis of structures and components, biomechanical analysis, design and development of assistive and rehabilitative gait devices.

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