Data-Driven Variable Impedance Control of a Powered Knee-Ankle Prosthesis for Adaptive Speed and Incline Walking
Most impedance-based walking controllers for powered knee-ankle prostheses use a finite state machine with dozens of user-specific parameters that require manual tuning by technical experts. These parameters are only appropriate near the task (e.g. walking speed and incline) at which they were tuned, necessitating many different parameter sets for variable-task walking. In contrast, this paper presents a data-driven, phase-based controller for variable-task walking that uses continuously-variable impedance control during stance and kinematic control during swing to enable biomimetic locomotion. After generating a data-driven model of variable joint impedance with convex optimization, we implement a novel task-invariant phase variable and real-time estimates of speed and incline to enable autonomous task adaptation. Experiments with above-knee amputee participants (N=2) show that our data-driven controller 1) features highly-linear phase estimates and accurate task estimates, 2) produces biomimetic kinematic and kinetic trends as task varies, leading to low errors relative to able-bodied references, and 3) produces biomimetic joint work and cadence trends as task varies. We show that the presented controller meets and often exceeds the performance of a benchmark finite state machine controller for our two participants, without requiring manual impedance tuning.