Development of an Assistive Motorized Hip Orthosis
With the increase of life expectancy, a higher number of elderly need assistance to maintain their mobility and their independance. The hip joint is crucial for walking and is problematic for a large number of aged people. In this paper we present a novel design of a motorized hip orthosis to assist elderly people while walking, stair climbing and during the sit-to-stand transistions. The kinematics was developed based on biomechanics considerations. To be able to achieve a large assistance rate, velocity and torques of the hip joint were studied from the literature. In order to fit with these requirements, an amplification mechanism inspired by excavators was developed and implemented. Comfort considerations were also taken into account and a custom interface was designed with the collaboration of a professional orthopaedic technician. First tests with the prototype showed that the workspace is sufficent for walking, for stair climbing as well as for sit-to-stand transitions. The assistance rate can go up to 30% for a 70 kg subject during walking at a cadence of 100 steps/min. The comfort is guaranteed despite the important weight (4.3 kg) of this first prototype.