Development of a torque limiter for the gear of an assistive walking device

Jyun Rong Zhuang, Hayato Nagayoshi, Hirotoshi Kondo, Keiichi Muramatsu, Keiichi Watanuki, Eiichiro Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Wearable assistive devices have been receiving considerable attention in academic circles. To make these devices efficient, we need additional research on the service lives of the mechanical elements used in these devices. The wearers of these devices frequently encounter unexpected movements that lead to motor failure in the devices. The purpose of this study is to develop an overload protection mechanism using a torque limiter, which can eliminate the overload torque delivered in the reverse direction to effectively prevent the device from breaking and ensure the safety of the user. To improve the service life of assistive walking devices, we designed a sandwich mechanism for the final gear of the servo motor. We made the material from rubber and configured it between a pair of circular plates. The surface tractive force delivered the required torque. When the surface load exceeded the maximum friction force, the circular plates slipped and protected the device. In this paper, we implement a torque limiter and prove its durability by performing experiments using two circular plate designs, one with grooves type and another without grooves type. We also use various materials to assess the applicability of the assistive walking device. The findings indicate that the with grooves type gives better torque performance; it achieves the same rated torque as the servo motor. Thus, this study recommends that with grooves type is particularly suitable for the elderly who require high assistive power. On the other hand, without grooves type is suitable for users who employ the device for extended periods because this type has an excellent service life. Our experiment proves that the torque limiter that we developed can withstand the load torque over 300 times for situations involving the loss of balance such as stumbling and slipping. Finally, we experimentally validate the improvement of walking performance by using this torque limiter.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberJAMDSM0089
JournalJournal of Advanced Mechanical Design, Systems and Manufacturing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov


  • Delivered torque
  • Durability
  • Overload protection mechanism
  • Torque limiter
  • Walking assistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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