Note: This content is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, this browser does not seem to support current Web standards, preventing the display of our site's design details.


A novel mechatronic body weight support system



IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, in press

A novel mechatronic body weight support (BWS) system has been developed to provide precise body weight unloading for patients with neurological or other impairments during treadmill training. The system is composed of a passive elastic spring element to take over the main unloading force and an active closed-loop controlled electric drive to generate the exact desired force. Both force generating units, the passive spring and the active electric drive, act on the patient via a polyester rope connected to a harness worn by the patient. The length of the rope can be adjusted with an electric winch to adapt the system to different patient sizes. The system is fully computer controlled. At unloading loads of up to 60 kg and walking speeds of up to 3.2 km/h, the mean unloading error and the maximum unloading error of the presented BWS system was less than 1 and 3 kg, respectively. The performance was compared with those of two purely passive BWS systems currently being used by most other rehabilitation groups. This comprised counterweight systems and static BWS systems with fixed rope lengths. Counterweight systems reached mean and maximum unloading errors of up to 5.34 and 16.22 kg, respectively. The values for the static BWS were 11.02 kg and 27.67 kg, respectively. The novel mechatronic BWS system presented in this study adjusts desired unloading changes of up to 20 kg within less than 100 ms. Thus, not only constant BWS, but also gait cycle dependent or time variant oscillations of the desired force can be realized with high accuracy. Precise and constant unloading force is believed to be an important prerequisite for BWS gait therapy, where it is important to generate physiologically correct segmental dynamics and ground reaction forces. Thus, the novel BWS system presented in this paper is an important contribution to maximize the therapeutic outcome of human gait rehabilitation.


Type of Publication:


File Download:

Request a copy of this publication.
(Uses JavaScript)
% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { Xxx:2006:IFA_2266,
    title={{A novel mechatronic body weight support system}},
    journal={IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation
Permanent link