Design of a controlled-brake orthosis for FES-aided gait

M. Goldfarb, W. K. Durfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a means of restoring gait to individuals with spinal cord injury, but the performance of most FES-aided gait systems is hampered by the rapid muscle fatigue which results from stimulated muscle contraction and the inadequate control of joint torques necessary to produce desired limb trajectories. The controlled-brake orthosis (CBO) addresses these limitations by utilizing FES in combination with a long-leg brace that contains controllable friction brakes at the knees and hips. A laboratory version of the CBO utilizing computer-controlled magnetic particle brakes at the joints was designed and constructed, and preliminary results with a single spinal cord injury (SCI) subject have demonstrated reduced fatigue and more repeatable gait trajectories when compared to FES-aided gait without the brace. Significant work remains to demonstrate the efficacy of the concept across a wide range of SCI subjects and to design a system which meets appropriate user requirements of size, weight, cosmesis, ease of use and cost. The primary purpose of the paper is to detail the design of the CBO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1996

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