Finite-State Impedance and Direct Myoelectric Control For Robotic Ankle Prostheses: Comparing their Performance and Exploring their Combination.

IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering : a publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society(2023)

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Non-volitional control, such as finite-state machine (FSM) impedance control, does not directly incorporate user intent signals, while volitional control, like direct myoelectric control (DMC), relies on these signals. This paper compares the performance, capabilities, and perception of FSM impedance control to DMC on a robotic prosthesis for subjects with and without transtibial amputation. It then explores, using the same metrics, the feasibility and performance of the combination of FSM impedance control and DMC across the full gait cycle, termed Hybrid Volitional Control (HVC). After calibration and acclimation with each controller, subjects walked for two minutes, explored the control capabilities, and completed a questionnaire. FSM impedance control produced larger average peak torque (1.15Nm/kg) and power (2.05 W/kg) than DMC (0.88 Nm/kg and 0.94 W/kg). The discrete FSM, however, caused non-standard kinetic and kinematic trajectories, while DMC yielded trajectories qualitatively more similar to able-bodied biomechanics. While walking with HVC, all subjects successfully achieved ankle push-off and were able to modulate the magnitude of push-off via the the volitional input. Unexpectedly, however, HVC behaved either more similarly to FSM impedance control or to DMC alone, rather than in combination. Both DMC and HVC, but not FSM impedance control, allowed subjects to achieve unique activities such as tip-toe standing, foot tapping, side-stepping, and backward walking. Able-bodied subject (N=6) preferences were split amongst the controllers, while all transtibial subjects (N=3) preferred DMC. Desired performance and ease of use showed the highest correlations with overall satisfaction (0.81 and 0.82, respectively).
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