This paper develops an assistive torque system which uses homogenic surface electromyogram (EMG) signals to improve the elbow torque capability of stroke patients by applying an external time-varying assistive torque. In determining the magnitude of the torque to apply, the incorporated assistive torque algorithm considers the difference between the weighted biceps and triceps EMG signals such that the applied torque is proportional to the effort supplied voluntarily by the user. The overall stability of the assistive system is enhanced by the incorporation of a nonlinear damping element within the control algorithm which mimics the physiological damping of the elbow joint and the co-contraction between the biceps and triceps. Adaptive filtering of the control signal is employed to achieve a balance between the bandwidth and the system adaptability so as to ensure a smooth assistive torque output. The innovative control algorithm enables the provision of an assistive system whose operation is both natural to use and simple to learn. The effectiveness of the proposed assistive system in assisting elbow movement performance is investigated in a series of tests involving five stroke patients and five able-bodied individuals. The results confirm the ability of the system to assist all of the subjects in performing a number of reaching and tracking tasks with reduced effort and with no sacrifice in elbow movement performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Physiology (medical)