A Novel Musculoskeletal-driven Exoskeleton Framework for Spina Bifida Rehabilitation in Infants

  • Huayamave, Victor (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
  • Vela, Emir (Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia)
  • Kim, Wangdo (Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia)
  • Chambers, Tamara (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
  • Centeno, Esteban (Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia)
  • Macumber, Breanna (University of South Florida)

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Robotic driven exoskeletons in the medical field are used for rehabilitation to train muscle movement and assist in injury recovery. While the demand for these robotic rehabilitation devices had significantly increased, most of them have been developed for the adult population due to the increasing number of disabled and aged people. In recent years, novel approaches have been used to develop assistive exoskeletons for walking children affected by cerebral palsy and spina bifida. However, there has not been any significant advancements in exoskeletons for the infant population. Spina bifida lead to motor dysfunction reducing mobility in infants. High physical activity has been recommended for rehabilitation. The proposed framework aims to couple a novel musculoskeletal infant model with a robotic exoskeleton to provide rehabilitation to infants affected by spina bifida. The musculoskeletal model was developed scaling an adult model using experimental motion capture data. Inverse kinematics was used to estimate infant muscle moment arms and joint angles and inverse dynamics was used to estimate physiological joint moments.