Implementation of Variable Damping to Gait Rehabilitation Technology
Walking ability is a complex process that is essential to humans, critical for performing a range of everyday tasks and enables a healthy, independent lifestyle. Human gait has evolved to be robust, adapting to a wide range of external stimuli, including variable walking surface compliance. Unfortunately, many people suffer from impaired gait as a result of conditions such as stroke. For these individuals, recovering their gait is a priority and a challenge. The ASU Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST) is a device that is able to the change its surface compliance through its unique variable stiffness mechanism. By doing this, the VST can be used to investigate gait and has potential as a rehabilitation tool. The objective of this research is to design a variable damping mechanism for the VST, which addresses the need to control effective surface damping, the only form of mechanical impedance that the VST does not currently control. Thus, this project will contribute toward the development of the Variable Impedance Treadmill (VIT), which will encompass a wider range of variable surface compliance and enable all forms of impedance to be con- trolled for the first time. To achieve this, the final design of the mechanism will employ eddy current damping using several permanent magnets mounted to the treadmill and a large copper plate stationed on the ground. Variable damping is obtained by using lead screw mechanisms to remove magnets from acting on the copper plate, which effectively eliminates their effect on damping and changes the overall treadmill surface damping. Results from experimentation validate the mechanism's ability to provide variable damping to the VST. A model for effective surface damping is generated based on open-loop characterization experiments and is generalized for future experimental setups. Overall, this project progresses to the development of the VIT and has potential applications in walking surface simulation, gait investigation, and robot-assisted rehabilitation technology.
- Fou, Linda Guo (Author)
- Artemiadis, Panagiotis (Thesis director)
- Lee, Hyunglae (Committee member)
- Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program (Contributor, Contributor)
- School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (Contributor)
- Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)