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The main objective of this research is to develop an online smart walking assistive device framework for people with walking disabilities that can provide continuous optimal tuning parameters on various walking circumstances and real-time walking function monitoring to clinicians. The current standard of care assistive device prescription procedures requires patients to visit the lab and have walking assessments on the leveled surface due to setup of the motion capture system, overground force plates, which are common tools for assessing walking function. This prescription method leads two main issues: 1) providing a single tuning parameter on walking assistive device only for level walking, 2) unable to assess walking function in different walking conditions such as incline, decline, stairs, and so on. In fact, there are a variety of walking conditions other than straight walking and they take a greater portion of the daily dynamic task. The current standard of care passive walking assistive device is widely available due to an affordable price, lightweight, and high durability. However, the passive devices provide insufficient propulsion during walking due to the inherent design and choice of material, limiting adapting these various walking conditions. Although there are some walking assistive designs which can provide controlled tuning parameters, they are heavy and exorbitant due to the use of actuators and battery. Also, they mostly rely on controlling the device from internal sensors, provide a proper response after people take a few steps in new walking conditions. This suggests that until the device properly determines the tuning level, the people with lower limb amputation should recruit extra musculature or sound limb compensation to maintain proper motion. As a result, the limitation of current assistive device prescription method and design, and unable to monitor various walking in daily living can develop to secondary issues such as gait asymmetry, joint arthritis, lower back pain, and greater metabolic cost expenditure than unimpaired. This research will develop an affordable, lightweight prosthetic module which can easily be integrated to the current standard of care ankle-foot prosthesis to provide proper propulsion and predicting the walking condition using external (video) and internal (internal measurement unit) sensors, but create a framework which enables to monitor daily activities with a prosthetic device to the clinicians for providing consistent optimal care.

Not funded.


Hwan Choi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
[email protected]