Mechanism and Design Analysis of Articulated Ankle Foot Orthoses for Drop-Foot
A control procedure is proposed for an ankle-foot-orthosis (AFO) for different gait situations, such as inclinations and stairs. This paper presents a novel AFO control of the ankle angle. A magneto-rheological damper was used to achieve ankle damping during foot down and locking at swing, thereby avoiding foot slap as well as foot drop. The controller used feedback from the ankle angle only. Still it was capable of not only adjusting damping within a gait step but also changing control behavior depending on level walking, ascending and descending stairs. As a consequence, toe strike was possible in stair gait as opposed to heel strike in level walking. Tests verified the expected behavior in stair gait and in level walking where gait speed and ground inclinations varied. The self-adjusted AFO is believed to improve gait comfort in slopes and stairs.