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Towards control of soft robotic knee brace for ACL deficient patients

Agrawal, Mitul (2021) Towards control of soft robotic knee brace for ACL deficient patients.

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Abstract:Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the ligaments in the knee joint responsible for its stability during motion. This ligament is most prone to partial or complete tear during any contact or non-contact injury related to the knee. The injury causes stability issues in the knee while performing daily living activities making reconstruction surgery a common choice. Surgery requires replacement of ligament with nearby muscle fibers from hamstring or quadriceps muscle groups. Surgery can be avoided in some cases but requires costly rehabilitative trials to strengthen hamstring muscle activation to provide stability to a knee with ACL deficiency. Recently a commercial knee brace was equipped with Pneumatic Artificial Muscles (PAM) which revealed effectiveness in reducing hamstring activation. PAMs are compliant high-density actuators suitable for usage as an actuation system in the knee brace to assist human muscles. Past studies have shown the effect of PAM actuated brace on hamstring muscle activation. However, a deeper understanding is required to understand the influence of PAM actuation on hamstring activations in order to control the knee brace actuation system. To achieve this understanding without invasive techniques on patients, a Neuro Musculoskeletal Model (NMM) is needed. Such models help in understanding the interactions between the neural signals and muscles which dictate the muscle dynamics. Muscle dynamics when combined with the skeletal model of the human body allows the simulation of all the muscles working in tandem with each other to produce realistic motion and internal properties. In this study using NMMs, different aspects of the actuation mechanism (using PAMs) on hamstring muscle activities are studied and presented. A NMM for the lower extremity is run using Opensim software for forward simulations with the PAM actuated brace attached to the knee joint. The study focuses on PAM actuated braces' capacity to compliment hamstring muscles during self-paced walking. Hamstring facilitation is a strategy to help stabilize the knee during the rehabilitation of patients with ACL deficiency and patients after ACL reconstruction surgery.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:42 biology, 53 electrotechnology
Programme:Systems and Control MSc (60359)
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