The objective of this study was to design of an output based impedance adaptive controller for a special class of cervical orthoses, a class of biomedical devices for the rehabilitation of neck illnesses. The controller used the adaptive sliding mode theory to enforce the tracking of the reference trajectory if the patient was not resistant to the therapy. If the patient rejects the orthosis activity, a second impedance-based controller governs the orthosis movement allowing the patient to take the leading role in the orthosis sequence of movements. The proposed controller considers a weighted controller combining the tracking and the impedance controls in a single structure. The monitoring of the external force was evaluated on a novel weighting function defining on-line the role of each controller. The proposed orthosis was motivated by the prevalence of whiplash, which is a syndrome that is produced by forced hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck. This study included the development of a technological prototype of the orthotic type to support the recovery of patients diagnosed with whiplash. The sections that make up the orthotic device are two independent systems that move the patient’s head in the sagittal and frontal planes. For this purpose, the mechanical structure of the cervical orthosis was made up of 7 pieces printed in 3D with polylactic acid (PLA). The operation of the cervical orthosis was evaluated in two sections: (a) using a simulation system, which consists of a spring with an artificial head and the development of a graphic interface in Matlab, and (b) evaluating the controller on the proposed orthosis. With these elements, the follow-up of the trajectory proposed by the actuators was evaluated, as well as its performance in the face of the opposition that a patient generates. The superiority of the proposed controller was confirmed by comparing the tracking efficiency with proportional-integral-derivative and first-order sliding variants.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2019 Isai Guzman-Victoria et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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