This chapter presents authors development work on walking assistant exoskeletons for gait training of patients and promotion exercise of the elderly. The first exoskeleton is a whole leg assisting device using a special parallel link mechanism. For gait training of motor palsy patients, a weight bearing lifter was attached, and an impedance control was tuned by using frequency entertainment. For the elderly, a torque controller taken into account the dynamics of both a user and the apparatus with real time acceleration data is developed. The second exoskeleton is a whole body assisting suit was developed by adding arm assistance to the whole leg apparatus. By assisting not only legs but also swinging arms, an increased cerebral activity of all areas can be expected via rehabilitation with the whole body exoskeleton. Finally, we developed a close-fitting type exoskeleton assisting only ankle joint, which leads to a product RE-Gait® in 2016. By utilizing the structure of bi-articular muscle and physiological phenomenon of stretch reflex, the user’s leg can be raised assisting only ankle joint. Experiments with by hemiplegic patients are enclosed, which show that abduct variation of the hip joint is decreased while the stride length is increased by using the device.
ASJC Scopus subject areas