The adjunctive use of biofeedback systems with exoskeletons may accelerate post-stroke gait rehabilitation. Wearable patient-oriented human-robot interaction-based biofeedback is proposed to improve patient-exoskeleton compliance regarding the interaction torque’s direction (joint motion strategy) and magnitude (user participation strategy) through auditory and vibrotactile cues during assisted gait training, respectively. Parallel physiotherapist-oriented strategies are also proposed such that physiotherapists can follow in real-time a patient’s motor performance towards effective involvement during training. A preliminary pre-post controlled study was conducted with eight healthy participants to conclude about the biofeedback’s efficacy during gait training driven by an ankle-foot exoskeleton and guided by a technical person. For the study group, performance related to the interaction torque’s direction increased during (p
-value = 0.07) and after (p
-value = 0.07) joint motion training. Further, the performance regarding the interaction torque’s magnitude significantly increased during (p
-value = 0.03) and after (p
-value = 68.59 × 10−3
) user participation training. The experimental group and a technical person reported promising usability of the biofeedback and highlighted the importance of the timely cues from physiotherapist-oriented strategies. Less significant improvements in patient–exoskeleton compliance were observed in the control group. The overall findings suggest that the proposed biofeedback was able to improve the participant-exoskeleton compliance by enhancing human-robot interaction; thus, it may be a powerful tool to accelerate post-stroke ankle-foot deformity recovery.
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