A portable powered ankle-foot orthosis for rehabilitation
Journal of rehabilitation research and development
Innovative technological advancements in the field of orthotics, such as portable powered orthotic systems, could create new treatment modalities to improve the functional outcome of rehabilitation. In this paper, we present a novel portable powered ankle-foot orthosis (PPAFO) to provide un-tethered assistance during gait. Methods: The PPAFO provides both plantarflexor and dorsiflexor torque assistance via a bi-directional pneumatic rotary actuator. The system uses a portable pneumatic power
... pneumatic power source (compressed CO 2 bottle) and embedded electronics to control the actuation of the foot. Pilot experimental data from one impaired and three healthy subjects were collected to demonstrate design functionality. The impaired subject had bilateral impairment of the lower legs due to cauda equina syndrome. Results: Data from healthy walkers demonstrated the PPAFO's capability to provide correctly timed plantarflexor and dorsiflexor assistance during gait. Reduced activation of the tibialis anterior during stance and swing was also seen during assisted healthy walking trials. An increase in the vertical ground reaction force during the second half of stance was present during assisted trials for the impaired walker. Conclusion: A design for a novel assistive device was presented. Data from healthy walkers demonstrated functionality, and data from an impaired walker demonstrated the ability to provide functional plantarflexor assistance.