OJEMB presents

Stand-Up, Squat, Lunge, and Walk With a Robotic Knee and Ankle Prosthesis Under Shared Neural Control

Emerging robotic knee and ankle prostheses present an opportunity to restore the biomechanical function of missing biological legs, which is not possible with conventional passive prostheses. However, challenges in coordinating the robotic prosthesis movements with the user’s neuromuscular system and transitioning between activities limit the real-world viability of these devices. Here we show that a shared neural control approach combining neural signals from the user’s residual limb with robot control improves functional mobility in individuals with above-knee amputation. The proposed shared neural controller enables subjects to stand up and sit down under a variety of conditions, squat, lunge, walk, and seamlessly transition between activities without explicit classification of the intended movement. No other available technology can enable individuals with above-knee amputations to achieve this level of mobility. Further, we show that compared to using a conventional passive prosthesis, the proposed shared neural controller significantly reduced muscle effort in both the intact limb (21–51% decrease) and the residual limb (38–48% decrease). We also found that the body weight lifted by the prosthesis side increased significantly while standing up with the robotic leg prosthesis (49%–68% increase), leading to better loading symmetry (43–46% of body weight on the prosthesis side). By decreasing muscle effort and improving symmetry, the proposed shared neural controller has the potential to improve amputee mobility and decrease the risk of falls compared to using conventional passive prostheses.

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