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Smart Ankle Orthosis

Participants:

  1. Ricky Mehta
  2. Katarina Lipat
  3. Evan Reed
  4. Eric Rohrs

 

Advisor: Dr. Paliwal

Ankle-foot Orthosis (AFOs) are used to control dorsiflexion and plantarflexion movement of patients with gait abnormalities. The Smart Ankle-Foot Orthrosis (SAFO) improves upon current foot orthoses used to treat the occurrence of steppage gait. A hinged ankle-foot orthosis is incorporated with a novel dynamically adjustable hydraulic cylinder-system, two-tension springs, and force sensitive resistors. Flex sensors to measure ankle angles are also implemented for evaluation purposes. The force sensor outputs are fed to a programmable motor driver to coordinate the motor actuation with the forces exerted by the user. The motor turns the screw attached to the hydraulic-cylinders, which thereby controls the orifice size by moving a plate in the cylinder, thus changing the resistance. To power the motor and sensors, a rechargeable battery pack is placed in a waist bag.  The SAFO’s flexible design uses a novel combination of hydraulic-pneumonic cylinders to prevent foot drop, and restore the user’s sense of normalcy by providing the late stance plantarflexion and return to a neutral position in early swing phase. The control aspect of the device was tested and performed as expected. Functional testing of the device will be performed post IRB approval.