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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020566

Compact Hip-Force Sensor for a Gait-Assistance Exoskeleton System

1
Device & System Research Center, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, 130 Samsung-ro, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 443-803, Korea
2
Department of Mechanical, Robotics and Energy Engineering, Dongguk University, 30, Pildong-ro 1gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 3 February 2018 / Accepted: 10 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Force and Pressure Based Sensing Medical Application)
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Abstract

In this paper, we propose a compact force sensor system for a hip-mounted exoskeleton for seniors with difficulties in walking due to muscle weakness. It senses and monitors the delivered force and power of the exoskeleton for motion control and taking urgent safety action. Two FSR (force-sensitive resistors) sensors are used to measure the assistance force when the user is walking. The sensor system directly measures the interaction force between the exoskeleton and the lower limb of the user instead of a previously reported force-sensing method, which estimated the hip assistance force from the current of the motor and lookup tables. Furthermore, the sensor system has the advantage of generating torque in the walking-assistant actuator based on directly measuring the hip-assistance force. Thus, the gait-assistance exoskeleton system can control the delivered power and torque to the user. The force sensing structure is designed to decouple the force caused by hip motion from other directional forces to the sensor so as to only measure that force. We confirmed that the hip-assistance force could be measured with the proposed prototype compact force sensor attached to a thigh frame through an experiment with a real system. View Full-Text
Keywords: hip force sensor; hip exoskeleton; gait assistance; force sensor; wearable sensor; rehabilitation robotics hip force sensor; hip exoskeleton; gait assistance; force sensor; wearable sensor; rehabilitation robotics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Choi, H.; Seo, K.; Hyung, S.; Shim, Y.; Lim, S.-C. Compact Hip-Force Sensor for a Gait-Assistance Exoskeleton System. Sensors 2018, 18, 566.

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