Exoskeletons could compete with active prostheses as effective aids to reduce the increased metabolic demands faced by lower-limb amputees during locomotion. However, little evidence of their efficacy with amputees has been provided so far. In this paper, a portable hip exoskeleton has been tested with seven healthy subjects and two transfemoral amputees, with the final goal to verify whether a hip flexion-extension assistance could be effective in reducing the metabolic cost of walking. The metabolic power of the participants was estimated through indirect calorimetry during alternated repetitions of three treadmill-based walking conditions: without the exoskeleton (NoExo), with the exoskeleton in zero-torque mode (ExoTM) and with the exoskeleton providing hip flexion-extension assistance (ExoAM). The results showed that the exoskeleton reduced the net metabolic power of the two amputees in ExoAM with respect to NoExo, by 5.0% and 3.4%. With healthy subjects, a 5.5±3.1% average reduction in the metabolic power was observed during ExoAM compared to ExoTM (differences were not statistically significant), whereas ExoAM required 3.9±3.0% higher metabolic power than NoExo (differences were not statistically significant). These results provide initial evidence of the potential of exoskeletal technologies for assisting lower-limb amputees, thereby paving the way for further experimentations.
|Titolo:||Lower-limb amputees can reduce the energy cost of walking when assisted by an Active Pelvis Orthosis|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo Atti Congressi/Articoli in extenso|