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A Data-Driven and Personalized Symmetry Controller for Robotic Ankle-Foot Prostheses
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  • Christopher Prasanna ,
  • Jonathan Realmuto ,
  • Anthony Anderson ,
  • Eric Rombokas ,
  • Glenn K. Klute
Christopher Prasanna
Center for Limb Loss and Mobility

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Jonathan Realmuto
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Anthony Anderson
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Eric Rombokas
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Glenn K. Klute
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People with unilateral transtibial amputation generally exhibit asymmetric gait, likely due to inadequate prosthetic ankle function. This results in compensatory behavior, leading to long-term musculoskeletal impairments (e.g., osteoarthritis in the joints of the intact limb). Powered prostheses can better emulate biological ankles, however, control methods are over-reliant on able-bodied data, require extensive amounts of tuning by experts, and cannot adapt to each user’s unique gait patterns. This work directly addresses all these limitations with a personalized and data-driven control strategy. Our controller uses a virtual setpoint trajectory within an impedance-inspired formula to adjust the dynamics of the robotic ankle-foot prosthesis as a function of gait phase. A single sensor measuring thigh motion is used to estimate the gait phase in real time. The virtual setpoint trajectory is modified via a data-driven iterative learning strategy aimed at optimizing ankle kinematic symmetry. The controller was experimentally evaluated on two people with transtibial amputation. The control scheme successfully increased ankle angle symmetry about the two limbs by 25.3% when compared to the passive condition. In addition, the symmetry controller significantly increased peak prosthetic ankle power output at push-off by 0.52 W/kg and significantly reduced biomechanical risk factors associated with osteoarthritis in the intact limb. This research demonstrates the benefits of personalized and data-driven symmetry controllers for robotic ankle-foot prostheses.