A light-weight active orthosis for hip movement assistance

Francesco Giovacchini, Federica Vannetti, Matteo Fantozzi, Marco Cempini, Mario Cortese, Andrea Parri, Tingfang Yan, Dirk Lefeber, Nicola Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last decades, wearable powered orthoses have been developed with the aim of augmenting or assisting motor activities. In particular, among many applications, wearable powered orthoses have been also introduced in the state of the art with the goal of providing lower-limb movement assistance in locomotion-related tasks (e.g.: walking, ascending/descending stairs) in scenarios of activities of daily living. In this paper we present a light-weight active orthosis endowed with two series elastic actuators for hip flexion-extension assistance. Along with the description of its mechatronic modules, we report the experimental characterization of the performance of the actuation and control system, as well as the usability test carried out with a healthy subject. Results showed a suitable dynamic behavior of the actuation unit: the closed-loop torque control bandwidth is about 15 Hz and the output impedance ranges from about 1 N m/rad to 35 N m/rad in the frequency spectrum between 0.2 and 3.2 Hz. Results from the tests with the healthy subject proved the overall system usability: the subject could walk with the device without being hindered and while he received a smooth assistive flexion-extension torque profile on both hip articulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Assistive technology
  • Gait aid
  • Lower-limb assistive exoskeleton
  • Powered orthosis
  • Series elastic actuator
  • Wearable robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)


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