Active Passive Nature of Assistive Wearable Gait Augment Suit for Enhanced Mobility
Chetan Thakur*, Kazunori Ogawa*,**, and Yuichi Kurita*,***
*Graduate School of Engineering, Hiroshima University
1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8527, Japan
**Daiya Industries Co., Ltd.
1125 Koshinden, Minami-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 701-0203, Japan
***PRESTO (Sakigake), Japan Society and Technology Agency (JST)
7 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076, Japan
In this paper we discuss the active and passive nature of the assistive wearable gait augment suit (AWGAS). AWGAS is a soft, wearable, lightweight, and assists walking gait by reducing muscle activation during walking. It augments walking by reducing the muscle activation of the posterior and anterior muscles of the lower limb. The suit uses pneumatic gel muscles (PGM), foot sensors for gait detection, and pneumatic valves to control the air pressure. The assistive force is provided using the motion in loop feedforward control loop using foot sensors in shoes. PGMs are actuated with the help of pneumatic valves and portable air tanks. The elastic nature of the PGM allows AWGAS to assist walking in the absence of the air supply which makes AWGAS both active and passive walking assist suit. To evaluate the active and passive nature of the AWGAS, we experimented to measure surface EMG (sEMG) of the lower limb muscles. sEMG was recorded for unassisted walking, i.e., without the suit, passive assisted walking, i.e., wearing the suit with no air supply and active assisted walking, i.e., wearing the suit with air supply set at 60 kPa. The results shows reduction in the muscle activity for both passive and active assisted walking as compared to unassisted walking. The pilot trials of the AWGAS were conducted in collaboration with local farmers in the Hiroshima prefecture in Japan where feedback received is complementing the results obtained during the experiments.
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