The physical therapists commonly make use of their visual prowess to ensure that the patients adapt correct walking patterns by observing for postural abnormalities and cuing when necessary. For better rehabilitation and reducing the workload on physical therapists, gait sensing and haptic feedback integrated into the shoe insole can be a viable option. This work introduces an insole with gait sensing using fabric-based inflatable sensors and haptic feedback. Design, fabrication, characterization of the sensors and haptic actuators are carried out along with participant testing. The benefits of using fabric inflatable sensors compared to existing gait sensing methods are also explored.
Towards Portability of Pneumatic Wearable Devices using Low-Volume Inflatable Actuator Composites and a Portable Pneumatic Source
Common drawbacks of pneumatically-actuated soft wearable devices include tethered air supplies and slow actuation speeds. The design of efficient and portable soft-pneumatic systems necessitates new soft actuators and pneumatic sources. This work presents the design of low-volume inflatable actuator composites (IAC) for faster actuation and a portable pneumatic source for use in wearable systems. Finite element model for the IAC is generated and validated against experimental results. Furthermore, optimization of IAC volumes and actuation speed tests are performed. The design of a portable pneumatic source along with the evaluation of maximum pressure and flows generated is also presented.