A soft-inflatable exosuit for knee rehabilitation: Assisting swing phase during walking

Saivimal Sridar, Zhi Qiao, Niveditha Muthukrishnan, Wenlong Zhang, Panagiotis Polygerinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present a soft-inflatable exosuit to assist knee extension during gait training for stroke rehabilitation. The soft exosuit is designed to provide 25% of the knee moment required during the swing phase of the gait cycle and is integrated with inertial measurement units (IMUs) and smart shoe insole sensors to improve gait phase detection and controller design. The stiffness of the knee joint during level walking is computed using inverse dynamics. The soft-inflatable actuators, with an I cross-section, are mechanically characterized at varying angles to enable generation of the required stiffness outputs. A linear relation between the inflatable actuator stiffness and internal pressure as a function of the knee angle is obtained, and a two-layer stiffness controller is implemented to assist the knee joint by providing appropriate stiffness during the swing phase. Finally, to evaluate the ability of the exosuit to assist in swing motion, surface-electromyography (sEMG) sensors are placed on the three muscle groups of the quadriceps and two groups of the hamstrings, on three healthy participants. A reduction in muscle activity of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis is observed, which demonstrates feasibility of operation and potential future usage of the soft inflatable exosuit by impaired users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44
JournalFrontiers Robotics AI
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2018


  • Assistive devices
  • Soft exosuit
  • Soft-inflatable actuators
  • Stiffness control
  • Wearable robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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