The Actuation System of the Ankle Exoskeleton T-FLEX: First Use Experimental Validation in People with Stroke

Daniel Gomez-Vargas, Felipe Ballen-Moreno, Patricio Barria, Rolando Aguilar, José M. Azorín, Marcela Munera, Carlos A. Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Robotic devices can provide physical assistance to people who have suffered neurological impairments such as stroke. Neurological disorders related to this condition induce abnormal gait patterns, which impede the independence to execute different Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). From the fundamental role of the ankle in walking, Powered Ankle-Foot Orthoses (PAFOs) have been developed to enhance the users’ gait patterns, and hence their quality of life. Ten patients who suffered a stroke used the actuation system of the T-FLEX exoskeleton triggered by an inertial sensor on the foot tip. The VICONmotion capture system recorded the users’ kinematics for unassisted and assisted gait modalities. Biomechanical analysis and usability assessment measured the performance of the system actuation for the participants in overground walking. The biomechanical assessment exhibited changes in the lower joints’ range of motion for 70% of the subjects. Moreover, the ankle kinematics showed a correlation with the variation of other movements analyzed. This variation had positive effects on 70% of the participants in at least one joint. The Gait Deviation Index (GDI) presented significant changes for 30% of the paretic limbs and 40% of the non-paretic, where the tendency was to decrease. The spatiotemporal parameters did not show significant variations between modalities, although users’ cadence had a decrease of 70% of the volunteers. Lastly, the satisfaction with the device was positive, the comfort being the most user-selected aspect. This article presents the assessment of the T-FLEX actuation system in people who suffered a stroke. Biomechanical results show improvement in the ankle kinematics and variations in the other joints. In general terms, GDI does not exhibit significant increases, and the Movement Analysis Profile (MAP) registers alterations for the assisted gait with the device. Future works should focus on assessing the full T-FLEX orthosis in a larger sample of patients, including a stage of training.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalBRAIN SCIENCES
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Powered ankle-foot orthosis
  • overground gait
  • ankle exoskeleton
  • biomechanical analysis
  • gait deviation index
  • movement analysis profile
  • gait profile score

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