This research is being conducted to prove that the Human Oriented Robotics and Control Lab’s variable stiffness treadmill (VST) is capable of replicating the surface compliance of various walking terrains. Using IMU’s and a marker system built into the VST, it is possible to quantify a walking surface by leg deflection. Varying parameters on the VST, such as position of the stiffness device and speed, makes it possible to produce the same leg deflection profiles quantified in outdoor testing. Working to discover how the VST can simulate outdoor walking terrain is essential both for indoor rehabilitation, and prosthetic development purposes.
This research is being conducted to investigate if leg kinematics are unique and can be characterized in reference to a 2-D plane when walking on surfaces of different compliance. By using inertial measurements units and math relating quaternions and rotation matrices it is possible to represent leg motion by measuring joint angles between the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Understanding how the leg is supposed to move on these surfaces will be vital in proving that the lab’s variable stiffness treadmill can accurately simulate outside walking surfaces, such as sand or grass for rehabilitation purposes.