Symbitron

Project Description

Symbitron: Symbiotic man-machine interactions in wearable exoskeletons to enhance mobility for paraplegics

2013-10-01 to 2018-03-31 (ongoing project)

The goal of Symbitron is to enable individuals with paraplegia to regain mobility with a novel lower-limb exoskeleton and a bio-inspired controller. BioRob’s role is to develop and test a neuromuscular controller that can produce various walking gaits with resemblance to human kinematics, kinetics, and muscle activations with few sensors and no pre-defined reference patterns.

Neuromuscular Controller

For real world function, wearable devices to assist gait should be highly responsive to both the user and the environment. Users should also be able to interact with the device in an intuitive manner. This positive shared control between machine and human is especially important for individuals with spinal cord injuries, where active recruitment of their own neuromuscular system could promote motor recovery. Here we demonstrate the capability of a biologically-inspired neuromuscular controller (NMC) and its use in assisting the gait of SCI test pilots.

The NMC was based on a sagittal plane neuromechanical simulation developed by Hartmut Geyer, which generates walking by activating simulated muscle reflex loops stimulated by few sensory imputs. Only the foot contact states and joint angles are needed to activate the simulated reflex loops of the Hill-type muscle models. The stance reflexes loop provides weight bearing support during the stance phase, and the swing reflexes allow the leg to flex and swing freely. The muscle forces generated from the virtual muscle dynamics combine to produce knee and hip torque commands to the gait trainer. The advantages of this controller over other approaches include robustness, modularity, and adaptability. In particular, the controller does not require filtering of its inputs (as with myoelectric control), can be decomposed into relevant modules (e.g. only knee or hip control), and can generate walking at different speeds and on different terrains in simulation.

For implementation on hardware, we developed a NMC Simulink library with control modules that allowed for tailoring to specific exoskeleton devices. So far we have tested the NMC on three different devices. The ankle module was tested on powered ankle exoskeleton Achilles, and the knee and hip modules were tested with gait trainer LOPES (both devices are from UTwente). We are currently testing the ankle and knee module on our new wearable exoskeleton. To provide subject-specific control for the SCI subjects, the NMC modules were designed to provide asymmetric control between the right and left legs, between extension and flexion, and among different muscles.

Neuromuscular controller

Tests with Human Subjects

We evaluated our controller with both healthy and paraplegic subjects. The modular nature of our controller enables us to test it on several different types of lower limb assistive devices. We evaluated subjects’ walking kinematics and kinetics, muscle activation levels, and metabolic power when possible.

Ankle Control

We tested the ankle module of the neuromuscular controller with a powered ankle exoskeleton (UTwente’s Achilles) on healthy subjects and paraplegic test plots with some mobility. For the healthy subjects, we evaluated the mechanics and energetics of walking with such a device and controller. This controller was designed to mimic human reflex patterns during locomotion, which we hypothesized would lead to lower energetic costs compared to walking with the added mass of the device only. Preliminary tests found that healthy-like gait patterns remained intact, and metabolic costs were reduced compared to the transparent mode of the device. Muscle activity of the tibialis anterior and soleus were also reduced with the assistive push-off. Please see Dzeladini et al. 2016 under Publications for more information.

Knee and Hip Control

We evaluated the neuromuscular controller on a lower-limb knee and hip robotic gait trainer (UTwente’s LOPES) with seven pilots with paraplegia (four complete, two incomplete) and one healthy subject. We determined that the NMC could enable normal-like walking gait kinematics at various walking speeds. We found that SCI pilots could walk at a range of normal walking speeds– from 0.6 m/s to 1.4 m/s. Despite a few differences between NMC-produced torques and healthy biological torques, the SCI joint kinematics were similar to healthy kinematics. With few sensors and no predefined gait patterns for multiple speeds or different subjects, the NMC could produce various walking patterns based on subject interaction with the environment. Please see Wu et al. 2017 under publications for more information.

WE1: Ankle and Knee Control

Our consortium partners at Delft and UTwente have developed a new ankle and knee wearable exoskeleton. Tests of the NMC with this device on paraplegic pilots are currently ongoing at the Fondazione Santa Lucia, another one of our consortium partners. Since this exoskeleton only actuates the ankle and knee, these pilots already have some volitional control of their hip joint.

WE2: Lower Limb Control (ankle, knee, hip)

Tests of the full lower limb exoskeleton and neurmuscular controller will be conducted in early 2018. These tests will involve paraplegic pilots who do not have volitional control of their hip joints.

Media

Student Projects

Related student projects:

S. Berger. Energy consumption optimization and stumbling corrective response for bipedal walking gait.

F. Dzeladini. Implementation of a human feedback-based locomotion and its control by means of a feedforward component inspired by central pattern generators

A. di Russo. Biomechanical analysis of slow walking and stepping behavior in healthy subjects on treadmill

Researchers

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Auke J. Ijspeert, Florin Dzeladini, Amy R. Wu

Publications

Unveiling palimpsests of exploitation. Towards a new alliance between ecology and economy in marginal regions

E. Cogato Lanza; P. Viganò; T. Pietropolli 

Post-extraction territories in transition #2 , Charleroi-B, Lens-F, September 2-5, 2023.

Robust mass lumping and outlier removal strategies in isogeometric analysis

Y. D. Voet; E. Sande; A. Buffa 

2024. 

BaiJ and BaiB are key enzymes in the chenodeoxycholic acid 7a-dehydroxylation pathway in the gut microbe Clostridium scindens ATCC 35704

K. L. Meibom; S. A. M. Marion; C. Volet; T. Nass; E. Vico Oton et al. 

Gut Microbes. 2024-02-29. 

Pluralizing creativities in heritage governance

P. B. Larsen; F. Graezer Bideau 

Governing Heritage and Creativity: Frictions, Avenues and Questions; Siracusa: Lettera Ventidue, 2023. p. 202.

The Governance of creative heritage and neo-aesthetics: between entertainment and politics in Asia

F. Graezer Bideau; P. B. Larsen 

Governing Heritage and Creativity: Frictions, Avenues and Questions; Siracusa: Lettera Ventidue, 2023. p. 202.

Beyond Metropolization. Exploring new Hybrids

E. Cogato Lanza 

10th International U&U PhD Seminar, Eurometropolis Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai, ENSAP de Lille, June 28-30, 2023.

Progettare la continuità degli spazi aperti. Il piano cantonale di Ginevra del 1936

E. Cogato Lanza 

Gray to Green, Piacenza, Politecnico di Milano-Polo territoriale di Piacenza, Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni, April 28, 2023.

Governing Heritage and Creativity: Frictions, Avenues and Questions

 

Siracusa: Lettera Ventidue, 2023.

De l’autosuffisance à la sécurité alimentaire. Notes sur l’expérience suisse en vue d’une transition territoriale

E. Cogato Lanza 

Architecture du territoire, Lièges, faculté d’architecture, Université de Lièges, November 6, 2023.

Birth and ascent of buoyant hydraulic fractures

A. Möri; B. Lecampion 

MCE Seminar, Pasadena, California, USA, June 21, 2023.

Buoyant Hydraulic Fractures: How they Emerge, Grow, and get Arrested

A. Möri; C. Peruzzo; D. Garagash; B. Lecampion 

ARMA HFC 2023 Series, Online, November 16, 2023.

Ascent and movement of buoyant fluids in the lithosphere

A. Möri; C. Peruzzo; D. Gargash; B. Lecampion 

MEGA Seminar Series, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland, 2023-10-26.

Gravitational effects on theemergence,propagation,andarrestofhydraulicfractures

A. Möri; C. Peruzzo; D. Garagash; B. Lecampion 

Geoseminar Series EPFL, 2023-2024, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland, 2023-11-21.

3D Buoyancy-Driven Propagation of Hydraulic Fractures and their Applications to Magmatic Plumbing Systems

A. Möri; B. Lecampion 

2022-03-16.

Magmatic Intrusions From a Hydraulic Fracture Modeling Perspective

A. Möri; B. Lecampion 

EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, April 23-28, 2023.

Arrest Mechanisms of Buoyant Hydraulic Fractures

A. Möri; C. Peruzzo; B. Lecampion; D. Garagash 

2023-06-25. 57th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 25-28, 2023. p. ARMA-2023-0711. DOI : 10.56952/ARMA-2023-0711.

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2024-02-12. HB23 – 68th ICFA Advanced Beam Dynamics Workshop on High-Intensity and High-Brightness Hadron Beams, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, October 9-13, 2023.

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Espaces ouverts, continuité et inversion paysagère

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Session 1.E. Planifier la transition agro-écologique des territoires

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24èmes Rencontres Internationales en Urbanisme de l’Aperau, Université de Lausanne, Juin 8-9, 2023.

Mountain Gravel-bed Rivers: Investigation on the Flow Repartition at a Bifurcation

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Yalin Memorial Colloquium 2023 – YMC 23 (IAHR), Palermo, Italy, January 26-27, 2023.

A metropolitan infrastructure for socio-ecological continuity in the Greater Geneva

E. Cogato Lanza 

Introducing the One Health approach, Neuchâtel, UniNe, Faculté de Droit, Institut de droit de la santé, November 23, 2023.

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Biophysical Journal. 2023-12-19. Vol. 122, num. 24, p. 4699-4709. DOI : 10.1016/j.bpj.2023.11.013.

Smart cities and sustainable development goals (SDGs): A systematic literature review of co-benefits and trade-offs

A. Sharifi; Z. Allam; S. E. Bibri; A. R. Khavarian-Garmsir 

Cities. 2023-12-19. Vol. 146, p. 104659. DOI : 10.1016/j.cities.2023.104659.

Nutrient efficiency at the core of nutrition and sustainability

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Frontiers In Nutrition. 2024-01-05. Vol. 10, p. 1248895. DOI : 10.3389/fnut.2023.1248895.

Understanding the role of Hubbard corrections in the rhombohedral phase of BaTiO3

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Physical Review B. 2023-12-27. Vol. 108, num. 23, p. 235171. DOI : 10.1103/PhysRevB.108.235171.

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On the Convergence to the Non-equilibrium Steady State of a Langevin Dynamics with Widely Separated Time Scales and Different Temperatures

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Geospatial Tools and Remote Sensing Strategies for Timely Humanitarian Response: A Case Study on Drought Monitoring in Eswatini

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The cost of adaptability: resource availability constrains functional stability under pulsed disturbances

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