• Robots

    To investigate human and animal locomotion, a number of legged robots were developed in our group since 2004. Read about the bipedal robot BioBiped or the research in the Locomorph project focusing on morphology and morphosis strategies in locomotion.

  • Prosthesis

    To investigate models of the muscle-tendon dynamics on humans we developed the research platform PAKO. Using our insights on gait biomechanics, walking and running could be realized with the robotic Walk-Run Ankle prosthesis.

  • Facilities

    Several indoor and outdoor facilities with state-of-the-art measurement equipment helps us to perform experiments on humans, animals and robots. Details can be found here: Facilities.

  • Experiments

    Both in research projects and in teaching courses at the Sports Science Institut at TU Darmstadt experimental studies are performed. Outcomes from student research and educational projects on biomechanics can be found in the awarded Teaching Wiki of our institute.

  • Models

    Models help us to study the fundamental principles of human and animal locomotion. The derived biomechanical concepts can be applied to bipedal robots, exoskeletons or prosthesis. In the European project Balance, we are working on an active orthosis.

News

Pick of the Month

Template Model Inspired Leg Force Feedback Based Control Can Assist Human Walking

Figure 1. Photo of a healthy subject walking with LOPES II.

We present a novel control approach for assistive lower-extremity exoskeletons. In particular, we implement a virtual pivot point (VPP) template model inspired leg force feedback based controller on a lower-extremity powered exoskeleton (LOPES II) and demonstrate that it can effectively assist humans during walking. It has been shown that the VPP template model is capable of stabilizing the trunk and reproduce a human-like hip torque during the stance phase of walking. With leg force and joint angle feedback inspired by the VPP template model, our controller provides hip and knee torque assistance during the stance phase. A pilot experiment was conducted with four healthy subjects. Joint kinematics, leg muscle electromyography (EMG), and metabolic cost were measured during walking with and without assistance. Results show that, for 0.6m/s walking, our controller can reduce leg muscle activations, especially for the medial gastrocnemius (about 16.0%), while hip and knee joint kinematics remain similar to the condition without the controller. Besides, the controller also reduces 10% of the net metabolic cost during walking. It demonstrates walking assistance benefits of the VPP template model for the first time. The support of human walking is achieved by a force feedback of leg force applied to the control of hip and knee joints. It can help us to provide a framework for investigating walking assistance control in the future.

This work will be presented in the ICORR2017 conference by Guoping Zhao.

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