Kinematic design of a footplate drive mechanism using a 3-DOF parallel mechanism for walking rehabilitation device

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  • ZHANG Chu
    Mechanical Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • LAN Bluest
    Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
  • MATSUURA Daisuke
    Mechanical Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • MOUGENOT Céline
    Mechanical Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • SUGAHARA Yusuke
    Mechanical Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • TAKEDA Yukio
    Mechanical Systems Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Abstract

<p>Recently, facilities with the special intention to help people who lack walking ability or even sit in the wheel chair could be seen everywhere. However, in the hospitals, rehabilitation devices, which are used for people to regain their body functions right after some health problems, are very limited, and even the existing robots have not shown sufficient evidence to prove they are useful, low cost, or easy to handle to be used as a regular rehabilitation method. In this research, a 3-DOF parallel mechanism training device as a compact foot drive mechanism for the gait rehabilitation of walking-disabled patients was developed for solving these sorts of problems. The requirements and constraints were obtained through interviews with medical doctor, physical therapists and related researchers. The composition of this proposed training device is: patients can be supported by a harness system with their feet fastened onto two separated programmable footplates. Based on the preprocessed walking data captured from healthy individuals, reference motion for the footplate can be determined and used to calculate the specifications of the footplate drive mechanism. As the foot drive mechanism, a planar parallel mechanism with 3-DOF was selected. Its dimensional synthesis was carried out taking into consideration the workspace and motion transmissibility, and a prototype of the machine was designed and built in the end. Comparison between the walking data and mechanism ’s analysis indicated that it is possible for the machine to generate natural walking patterns, which will be further proved with a prototype in the future.</p>

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