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Powered Knee and Ankle Prosthesis with Adaptive Control Enables Climbing Stairs with Different Stair Heights, Cadences, and Gait Patterns
  • Sarah Hood ,
  • Lukas Gabert ,
  • Tommaso Lenzi
Sarah Hood
University of Utah, University of Utah, University of Utah, University of Utah

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Lukas Gabert
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Tommaso Lenzi
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Powered prostheses can enable individuals with above-knee amputations to ascend stairs step-over-step. To accomplish this task, available stair ascent controllers impose a pre-defined joint impedance behavior or follow a pre-programmed position trajectory. These control approaches have proved successful in the laboratory. However, they are not robust to changes in stair height or cadence, which is essential for real-world ambulation. Here we present an adaptive stair ascent controller that enables individuals with above-knee amputations to climb stairs of varying stair heights at their preferred cadence and with their preferred gait pattern. We found that modulating the prosthesis knee and ankle position as a function of the user's thigh in swing provides toe clearance for varying stair heights. In stance, modulating the torque-angle relationship as a function of the prosthesis knee position at foot contact provides sufficient torque assistance for climbing stairs of different heights. Furthermore, the proposed controller enables individuals to climb stairs at their preferred cadence and gait pattern, such as step-by-step, step-over-step, and two-steps. The proposed adaptive stair controller may improve the robustness of powered prostheses to environmental and human variance, enabling powered prostheses to more easily move from the lab to the real-world.
Jun 2022Published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics volume 38 issue 3 on pages 1430-1441. 10.1109/TRO.2022.3152134