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research-article

Lower-Limb Prostheses and Exoskeletons with Energy Regeneration: Mechatronic Design and Optimization Review

[+] Author and Article Information
Brock Laschowski

164 College Street Toronto, ON M5S 3G9 Canada brock.laschowski@hotmail.com

John McPhee

200 University Ave. W. Department of Systems Design Engineering Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada mcphee@uwaterloo.ca

Jan Andrysek

150 Kilgour Rd. Toronto, ON M4G1R8 Canada jandrysek@hollandbloorview.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. Manuscript received June 1, 2018; final manuscript received March 29, 2019; published online xx xx, xxxx. Assoc. Editor: Clement Gosselin.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043460 History: Received June 01, 2018; Accepted April 03, 2019

Abstract

Lower-limb biomechatronic devices (i.e., prostheses and exoskeletons) generally depend upon onboard batteries to power wearable sensors, actuators, and microprocessors, thereby accumulating weight and limiting their operating durations. Regenerative braking, also termed electrical energy regeneration, represents a promising solution to the aforementioned shortcomings. Regenerative braking converts the otherwise dissipated mechanical energy during locomotion into electrical energy for recharging the onboard batteries, while simultaneously providing negative mechanical work for controlled system deceleration. This paper reviewed the electromechanical design and optimization of lower-limb biomechatronic devices with energy regeneration. The technical review starts by examining human walking biomechanics (i.e., mechanical work, power, and torque about the hip, knee, and ankle joints) and proposes general design principles for regenerative braking prostheses and exoskeletons. Analogous to electric and hybrid electric vehicle powertrains, there are numerous mechatronic design components that could be optimized to maximize electrical energy regeneration, including the mechanical power transmission, electromagnetic machine, electrical drive, mass and moment of inertia, and energy storage devices. Design optimization of these system components are individually discussed while referencing the latest advancements in robotics and automotive engineering. The technical review demonstrated that existing systems 1) are limited to level-ground walking applications, and 2) have maximum energy regeneration efficiencies between 30-37%. Accordingly, potential future directions for research and innovation include 1) regenerative braking during dynamic movements like sitting down and slope and staircase descent, and 2) utilizing high-torque-density electromagnetic machines and low-impedance mechanical power transmissions to maximize system efficiencies.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
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