Evaluation of Physical Interaction during Walker-Assisted Gait with the AGoRA Walker: Strategies Based on Virtual Mechanical Stiffness
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
Smart walkers are commonly used as potential gait assistance devices, to provide physical and cognitive assistance within rehabilitation and clinical scenarios. To understand such rehabilitation processes, several biomechanical studies have been conducted to assess human gait with passive and active walkers. Several sessions were conducted with 11 healthy volunteers to assess three interaction strategies based on passive, low and high mechanical stiffness values on the AGoRA Smart Walker. The trials were carried out in a motion analysis laboratory. Kinematic data were also collected from the smart walker sensory interface. The interaction force between users and the device was recorded. The force required under passive and low stiffness modes was 56.66% and 67.48% smaller than the high stiffness mode, respectively. An increase of 17.03% for the hip range of motion, as well as the highest trunk’s inclination, were obtained under the resistive mode, suggesting a compensating motion to exert a higher impulse force on the device. Kinematic and physical interaction data suggested that the high stiffness mode significantly affected the users’ gait pattern. Results suggested that users compensated their kinematics, tilting their trunk and lower limbs to exert higher impulse forces on the device.
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