Design and development of the sEMG-based exoskeleton strength enhancer for the legs
This paper reviews the different exoskeleton designs and presents a working prototype of a surface electromyography (EMG) controlled exoskeleton to enhance the strength of the lower leg. The Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the exoskeleton is designed, 3D printed with respect to the golden ratio of human anthropometry, and tested structurally. The exoskeleton control system is designed on the LabVIEW National Instrument platform and embedded in myRIO. Surface EMG sensors (sEMG) and flex sensors are used coherently to create different state filters for the EMG, human body posture and control for the mechanical exoskeleton actuation. The myRIO is used to process sEMG signals and send control signals to the exoskeleton. Thus, the complete exoskeleton system consists of sEMG as primary sensor and flex sensor as a secondary sensor while the whole control system is designed in LabVIEW. FEA simulation and tests show that the exoskeleton is suitable for an average human weight of 62 kg plus excess force with different reactive spring forces. However, due to the mechanical properties of the exoskeleton actuator, it will require an additional lift to provide the rapid reactive impulse force needed to increase biomechanical movement such as squatting up. Finally, with the increasing availability of such assistive devices on the market, the important aspect of ethical, social and legal issues have also emerged and discussed in this paper.
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