Experimental comparison of torque control methods on an ankle exoskeleton during human walking
Few comparisons have been performed across torque controllers for exoskeletons, and differences among devices have made interpretation difficult. In this study, we designed, developed and compared the torque-tracking performance of nine control methods, including variations on classical feedback control, model-based control, adaptive control and iterative learning. Each was tested with four high-level controllers that determined desired torque based on time, joint angle, a neuromuscular model,
... uromuscular model, or electromyography. Controllers were implemented on a tethered ankle exoskeleton with series elastic actuation. Measurements were taken while one human subject walked on a treadmill at 1.25 m·s-1 for one hundred steady-state steps. The combination of proportional control with damping injection and iterative learning resulted in the lowest errors for all high-level controllers. With time-based desired torque, root-mean-squared errors were 0.6 N·m (1.3% of peak desired torque) step by step, and 0.1 N·m (0.2%) on average. These results indicate that model-free, integration-free feedback control is suited to the uncertain dynamics of the human-robot system, while iterative learning is effective in the cyclic task of walking.