Optimal Design And Numerical Study of Digital Hydraulically Driven Ankle Exoskeleton
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11th Workshop on Digital Fluid Power, DFP22, September 19-20, 2022, Edinburgh, Scotland.
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Hydraulic drives offer key advantages in terms of power density, energy recuperation, and motion damping (compared to their electric counterparts) making them favourable candidates for the actuation of exoskeletons. However, several challenges related to the development of hydraulically driven exoskeletons (such as compact lightweight design, efficient operation, etc.) need to be addressed to permit their wider adoption by the potential users. In this work, a novel design of ankle exoskeleton is presented that is driven by a digital hydraulic drive. The digital drive provides additional advantages of high force density, energy efficiency, precision and robustness. Via a design optimization technique, an optimal design is determined that is compact and lightweight while also fulfilling the ankle torque requirements of a typical gait cycle. This design is investigated via a numerical model of the lower limb and the exoskeleton. The results show that the device is able to track the desired ankle motion in a gait cycle and deliver the required ankle torque.