Lower-limb exoskeletons as walking assistive devices have been intensively investigated in recent decades. In these studies, intention detection and performance evaluation are important topics. In our previous studies, we proposed a disturbance observer (DOB)-based torque estimation algorithm and an admittance control law to shape the admittance of the human-exoskeleton system (HES) and comply with the user’s walking intention. These algorithms have been experimentally verified under the condition of no ground reaction force (GRF) in our previous studies. In this paper, we devised and integrated with the exoskeleton control system a sensing and communication module on each foot to measure and compensate for GRF. Rigorous theoretical analysis was performed and the sufficient conditions for the robust stability of the closed-loop system were derived. Then, we conducted level ground assistive walking repeatedly with different test subjects and exhaustive combinations of admittance parameters. In addition, we proposed two tractable and physically insightful performance indices called normalized energy consumption index (NECI) and walking distance in a fixed period of time to quantitatively evaluate the performance for different admittance parameters. We also compared the energy consumption for users walking with and without the exoskeleton. The results show that the proposed admittance control law reduces the energy consumption of the user during level ground walking.
- Admittance control
- Ground reaction force
- Humanexoskeleton system
- Normalized energy consumption index
- Walking strategy