Controls for and Exoskeletal Hip Actuator

William Mark Watson, Michael Regis Kushnak


With recent improvements in technology, wearable robotics that augment human ability have become a very real possibility. Hoping to improve human mobility, we aim to design and create a wearable exoskeleton for the legs that augments human running speed with assisted hip actuation. We have approached this problem with the goal of augmenting an individual’s natural running motion to allow for increased land speed and to reduce metabolic rate over a distance of at least one mile. Scientists such as Hugh Herr from MIT’s Biomechatronics Research Group and those at Honda have made wearable technology that greatly aids in prosthetics and rehabilitation. Our design could be used for rehabilitation purposes, but we are primarily striving to extend natural human ability. The authors are currently not aware of any attempts at exoskeletons created with the sole purpose of improving the human running ability, making our project unique. Early research has focused on recreating results from similar experiments in mapping the human gait while walking or running which the control system is designed around. Currently, we are building a prototype of the final system and examining the implications of using the system while running. The supporting control algorithm will respond to feedback from strain as well as angular position and velocity while adapting to the runner by mapping their particular gait. We expect to create a system that will allow a user to comfortably run a mile at speeds at or near their typical sprinting speed. Success is defined by accomplishing this goal which will further improve the interaction between the human body and robotics.


Controls; Exoskeleton; Running; Human Augmentation

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