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Improving Sit/Stand Loading Symmetry and Timing Through Unified Variable Impedance Control of a Powered Knee-Ankle Prosthesis
  • Cara Welker ,
  • Thomas Best ,
  • Robert Gregg
Cara Welker
University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Boulder

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Thomas Best
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Robert Gregg
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Individuals using passive prostheses typically rely heavily on their biological limb to complete sitting and standing tasks, leading to slower completion times and increased rates of osteoarthritis and lower back pain. Powered prostheses can address these challenges, but have control methods that divide sit-stand transitions into discrete phases, limiting user synchronization across the motion and requiring long manual tuning times. This paper extends our preliminary work using a thigh-based phase variable to parameterize optimized data-driven impedance parameter trajectories for sitting, standing, and walking, with only two classification modes. We decouple the stand-to-sit and sit-to-stand equilibrium angles through a knee velocity-dependent scaling term, reducing the model fitting error by approximately half compared to our previous results. We then experimentally validate the controller with three individuals with above-knee amputation performing sitting and standing transitions to/from three different chair heights. We show that our controller implemented on a powered knee-ankle prosthesis produced biomimetic joint mechanics, resulting in significantly reduced sit/stand loading asymmetry and time to complete a 5x sit-to-stand task compared to participants’ passive prostheses. Integration with a previously developed walking controller also allowed sit/walk transitions between different chair heights. The controller’s biomimetic assistance may reduce the overreliance on the biological limb caused by inadequate passive prostheses, helping improve mobility for people with above-knee amputations.
26 Jan 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
29 Jan 2024Published in TechRxiv
2023Published in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering volume 31 on pages 4146-4155. 10.1109/TNSRE.2023.3320692