Complementary limb motion estimation for the control of active knee prostheses
To restore walking after transfemoral amputation, various actuated exoprostheses have been developed, which control the knee torque actively or via variable damping. In both cases, an important issue is to find the appropriate control that enables user-dominated gait. Recently, we suggested a generic method to deduce intended motion of impaired or amputated limbs from residual human body motion. Based on interjoint coordination in physiological gait, statistical regression is used to estimate missing motion. In a pilot study, this complementary limb motion estimation (CLME) strategy is applied to control an active knee exoprosthesis. A motor-driven prosthetic knee with one degree of freedom has been realized, and one above-knee amputee has used it with CLME. Performed tasks are walking on a treadmill and alternating stair ascent and descent. The subject was able to walk on the treadmill at varying speeds, but needed assistance with the stairs, especially to descend. The promising results with CLME are compared with the subject's performance with her own prosthesis, the C-Leg from Otto Bock.