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Design of Exoskeleton for Quasi-stiffness of


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of

Submitted By:

Deba Jyoti Khawas (113112)

Abhinav Motghare (113132)
Pavansing Rane (113143)

Under the Guidance of

Sri. GRK Gupta

Associate Professor


WARANGAL-506004 (T.S)
May- 2015

Approval Sheet
This Project Work entitled Design of Exoskeleton for the
Quasi-stiffness of Knee by Deba Jyoti Khawas (UG113112), Abhinav
Motghare (UG113132) and Pavan Rane (UG113143) is approved for the
degree of
Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering.


Supervisor (s)

(Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Date : 12/05/2015






This is to certify that the Project Report of the project entitled Design of Exoskeleton for
Quasi-stiffness of Knee carried out by Mr. Deba Jyoti Khawas (113112), Mr. Abhinav
Motghare (113132) & Mr. Pavansing Rane (113143) of final year B.Tech Mechanical
Engineering during the year 2014-2015 is a bonafide work submitted to the National Institute of
Technology, Warangal in partial fulfillment of requirements for the award of degree of Bachelor
of Technology.

Project Guide

Head of the Department

Sri GRK Gupta

Dr Surya Prakash Rao




Department Of Mechanical Engineering

Department Of Mechanical Engineering




I declare that this written submission represents my ideas in my own words and where others'
ideas or words have been included, I have adequately cited and referenced the original sources.
I also declare that I have adhered to all principles of academic honesty and integrity and have
not misrepresented or fabricated or falsified any idea/ data/ fact/ source in my submission. I
understand that any violation of the above will be cause for disciplinary action by the Institute
and can also evoke penal action from the sources which have thus not been properly cited or
from whom proper permission has not been taken when needed.


(Name of Student)

(Roll Number)


In this project, our aim is to design and analyze a mechanism to support the human knee
during the weight acceptance part of the gait cycle by taking half of the maximum load and
provide free motion for the rest of the cycle. The basic functioning of the knee was studied and
the anatomy and mechanism of walking were analysed for this purpose.
Then based on the data gathered, a system based on a torsion spring controlled by a
Whitworth Quick Return Mechanism was proposed. The Whitworth mechanism was driven by a
motor which was controlled by a microcontroller-sensor system. The specifications of the motor
were based on the torque requirement results of the dynamic analysis in Solidworks 2012 and the
speed calculations were made analytically based on the human walking pattern.
Based on the gait cycle, the velocity ratio was decided and the link lengths were calculated
for the mechanism analytically. The entire system was made into Solidworks 2012 and the
dynamic analysis of the system were done including the force analysis, Torque requirements on
the motor and the variation of these quantities with respect to the time of operation of the system.
Necessary analyses were also done in the software itself to ensure that the Whitworth mechanism
can withstand the maximum load of 30 N.m with a good fatigue life during its period of

Table Of Contents

Chapter Name


List of Figures & Tables


1.1 Osteoarthritis


Literature Review
2.1 Walking Mechanism
2.1.1 Gait Phases
2.1.2 Anatomical terms of motion Flexion and extension Abduction and Adduction Elevation and depression Rotation
2.2 Analysis of Knee Joint
2.2.1 Degrees of Freedom
2.2.2 Quasi-Stiffness of Knee
2.2.3 Load constraints on the knee
2.3 Orthotics
2.3.1 Types of Exoskeletons
Present Investigation
3.1 Moment Angle behavior of Knee
3.2 Design Objectives
3.3 Description of the total system
3.3.1 Control Module
3.3.2 Quick Return Mechanism
3.3.3 Double Torsion Spring
3.3.4 Sensors
3.3.5 Motor Specifications
3.3.6 Microcontroller Specifications
3.3.7 Analysis of the Mechanism
Results & Discussions


Summary & Conclusions


Work Scope for Future




List of Figures
Fig. No.

Name Of Figure
The anatomy of knee
Various Stances of Gait Cycle
Various Motion Terms
Knee joint showing the cartilage and the meniscus
Various dimensional motions of Knee
Moment-Angle Graph
Parallel type Exoskeleton
Series type Exoskeleton
Lower Extremity Limbs
Moment-Angle Cycle for unimpaired knee
Exoskeleton Leg Attachment 1
Exoskeleton Leg Attachment 2
Link Mechanism 1
Link Mechanism 2
Link Mechanism 3
Link Mechanism 4
Double Torsion Spring
Spring Calculations
Operational Control module
Graph of Knee angles v/s % Gait Cycle
Force Sensing Resistor
Motor Properties
Static Analysis
Static Displacement Properties
Static Stress Properties
Characteristics Per Cycle
Damage Characteristics
Motor Torque Characteristics
Final Proposed Mechanism


List of Tables
Sr. No

Name of table
Double Torsion Spring Catalogue
Static Material Properties
Reaction Forces
Material properties for fatigue



r1 = Fixed link length (cm)


r2 = Crank length (cm)


r4 = Connecting rod length (cm)


r5 = Slider length (cm)


Vw = Working Stroke Velocity (m/s)


Vr = Return Stroke Velocity (m/s)


a = Moment when heel strikes the ground (N.m)


b = Maximum moment at an angle of 15 degree (N.m)


c = Moment when the leg is at the end of weight acceptance phase (N.m)

10. d = Moment at terminal stance phase (N.m)

11. e = Moment at swing phase (N.m)

The knee is a hinge-like joint, and is a place where bones come together in the body to
facilitate movement and bear weight.

Fig 1.1: The anatomy of knee showing the joints connecting the two major
bones Femur and tibia and the two smaller bones: Patella and Fibula [22]

The knee joint connects the upper and lower portions of the leg and allows it to bend and
straighten - and even rotate inward and outward a little bit. It is made up of four bones, the largest
being the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (large shin bone), which go head-to-head within the
knee joint and bear the brunt of the impact of movement.
The smaller two are the fibula (smaller shin bone), which sits to the side of and slightly under
the tibia, and the patella (knee cap), which acts like a shield to protect the knee joint from trauma.
Several muscles, tendons and ligaments connect these four bones, make movement possible, and
help keep the knee joint aligned and stable.

1.1 Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is a chronic condition in
which the material that cushions the joints, called cartilage, breaks down. This causes the bones
to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement. The cause is not
fully understood.
More than 20 million people in the US suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA). By 2030, 20% of
Americans (about 70 million people) of more than 65 years of age are at risk for OA. Global
statistics reveal over 100 million people worldwide suffer from OA, which is one of the most
common causes of disability. In addition, younger individuals may be susceptible to injuryinduced OA. More than 50% of the population around the world (more than 65 years) show Xray evidence of OA in one of the joints, thus demonstrating the high incidence of this disease.
While OA is equally present in men and women, it appears to be more common among younger
men (less than 45 years) and in the older women (more than 45 years).
As per a recent report published in the Times of India (2010) regarding OA, over 40% of the
Indian population in the age group of 70 years or above suffer from OA. Nearly 2% of these
undergo severe knee pain and disability. As per a recent statement quoted by Piramal Healthcare
Limited in a nationwide campaign against chronic diseases, India is expected to be the chronic
disease capital, with 60 million people with arthritis, by 2025. The government, the private sector,
the medical fraternity and NGOs should come together against the onslaught of chronic
diseases. Also, majority of those suffering from OA are deprived of access to quality treatment.
Our attempt in this paper is to make a mechanism which morphs its stiffness according to the
increasing and decreasing requirements during the gait cycle of humans. The mechanism should
provide the maximum stiffness when the knee is undergoing the maximum weight acceptance
and should provide complete freedom to move the knees when the knee is not taking any load.

2.1 Walking Mechanism
Walking is done in a double pendulum mechanism. Human walking is accomplished with a
strategy called the double pendulum. During forward motion, the leg that leaves the ground
swings forward from the hip. This sweep is the first pendulum. Then the leg strikes the ground
with the heel and rolls through to the toe in a motion described as an inverted pendulum. The
motion of the two legs is coordinated so that one foot or the other is always in contact with the

2.1.1 Gait Phases

Fig. 2.1: Various Stances of Gait Cycle [23]

A gait cycle is defined as the period between two consecutive heel strikes of the same foot
with the ground, and is composed of a stance phase where the foot is on the ground and a swing
phase where the foot is off the ground, as schematically shown. The stance phase comprises a
Weight Acceptance (first 40%) and a terminal stance (4063%) sub-phases. The human
knee demonstrates a linear flexion stage and a linear extension stage in the WA phase of the gait
for normal, level-ground walking. Stance phase begins with the heel strike - this is the moment

when the heel begins to touch the ground but the toes do not yet touch. In the mid-stance phase,
we can see settlement of the foot at the lateral border. The toe-off phase is also named the
propulsive phase.
When the stance phase ends, the swing phase begins. This phase is the phase between the toe
off phase and the heel strike phase. In the swing phase we can recognize two extra phases acceleration and declaration. The acceleration phase goes from toe-off to mid-swing, while
declaration goes from mid-swing to heel strike. In the acceleration phase, the swing leg makes an
accelerated forward movement with the goal of propelling the body weight forward. The
declaration phase brakes the velocity of this forward body movement in order to place your foot
down with control. Between these two phases, the mid-swing phase occurs. In this phase, both
feet are under the body, with the heel next to each other.
Particularly, we studied the effect of body size and gait speed on the knee moment-angle
performance of subjects with gait speed of 1.012.63 m/s, body height of 1.431.86 m, and body
weight of 56.094.0 kg. We showed that the human knee exhibits a stance excursion of 6 to 30,
quasi-stiffness of 80750 N.m/rad, and moment of 45105 Nm when walking on level ground.
We also showed that the angle of initiation of the weight acceptance phase (the angle at which
the knee moment is zero) ranges from 6 to 32 and significantly varies depending on the weight
carriage and gait speed. The weight acceptance phase spans 40% of the gait which, depending on
the gait speed and duration of the gait cycle, corresponds to a period of 400500 ms assuming a
cycle duration of 11.25 s.

2.1.2 Anatomical terms of motion Flexion and extension
Flexion describes a bending movement that decreases the angle between a segment and its
proximal segment. For example, bending the elbow, or clenching a hand into a fist, are examples
of flexion. When sitting down, the knees are flexed. When a joint can move forward and
backward, such as the neck and trunk, flexion refers to movement in the anterior direction.
Flexion of the shoulder or hip refers to movement of the arm or leg forward.

Extension is the opposite of flexion, describing a straightening movement that increases the
angle between body parts. When a joint can move forward and backward, such as the neck and
trunk, extension refers to movement in the posterior direction. For example, when standing up,
the knees are extended. Extension of the hip or shoulder moves the arm or leg backward. When
the chin is against the chest, the head is flexed, and the trunk is flexed when a person leans

Fig. 2.2: Various Motion Terms [24] Abduction and Adduction

Abduction refers to a motion that pulls a structure or part away from the midline of the body.
In the case of fingers and toes, it refers to spreading the digits apart, away from the centerline of
the hand or foot. Abduction of the wrist is also called radial deviation. For example, raising the
arms up, such as when tightrope-walking, is an example of abduction at the shoulder. When the
legs are splayed at the hip, such as when doing a star jump or doing a split, the legs are abducted
at the hip.


Adduction refers to a motion that pulls a structure or part toward the midline of the body, or
towards the midline of a limb. In the case of fingers and toes, it refers to bringing the digits
together, towards the centerline of the hand or foot. Adduction of the wrist is also called ulnar
deviation. For example, dropping the arms to the sides, or bringing the knees together, are
examples of adduction. Elevation and depression

The terms elevation and depression refer to movement above and below the horizontal. They
derive from the Latin terms with the same meaning. Elevation refers to movement in a superior
direction. For example, shrugging is an example of elevation of the scapula. Depression refers to
movement in an inferior direction, the opposite of elevation. Rotation
Rotation of body parts is referred to as internal or external, referring to rotation towards or
away from the center of the body. Internal rotation (or medial rotation) refers to rotation towards
the axis of the body. External rotation (or lateral rotation) refers to rotation away from the center
of the body

2.2 Analysis of Knee Joint

Fig 2.3: Knee joint showing the cartilage and the menicus

Although the leg bones join together at the knee, they don't actually touch each other: they are
held slightly apart by cartilage, a rubbery, gel-like tissue that sits on the ends of bones like plush
slippers on your feet. Cartilage, which is roughly three-quarters water, prevents the ends of these
bones from grinding against each other as you move; instead the bone ends simply glide across
each other with very little friction. Cartilage also absorbs the shock of movement. This is
particularly important to the knee, a weight-bearing joint that is subject to constant pounding: as
every time you step and your foot hits the ground, shock waves reverberate up your leg bones.
When walking, the stress on your knee is roughly three times your body weight, a figure that
increases to ten times your body weight when you run. Without cartilage, the impact of
movement would cause stress fractures of the bones, erosion of bone ends, the formation of bone
spurs (think calluses on the ends of the bones), and ultimately the destruction of both the bones
and the weight-bearing joints.
Because the knee is subject to so much stress, a thick layer of cartilaginous tissue called the
meniscus (plural menisci) cushions the ends of the femur and the tibia. The meniscus is an
excellent shock absorber, soaking up the impact created by movement and helping Knee muscle,
arthritis of the knee provide stability to the knee joint. A damaged meniscus, which is common
among athletes participating in contact sports, is often referred to as "torn cartilage." Another
kind of cartilage found in the knee joint is articular cartilage, the "standard" kind that's found in
most joints. This smooth, slick surface covers the underside of the patella and lines the femoral
groove allowing these bones to glide smoothly within the joint as the knee bends and straightens.
When either kind of cartilage within the knee becomes cracked, torn, thin, dried out or worn
through, its ability to absorb shock and cushion the bone ends is reduced. Knee bones begin to
grind against each other, causing pain, stiffness, loss of movement and sometimes swelling - in
other words, a condition called arthritis. And that can really put a damper on your life.


2.2.1 Degrees of Freedom

The type of joint in the knee is a hinge joint (ginglymus) in which the articular surfaces are
molded to each other in such a manner as to permit motion only in one plane. In this case, the
plane is the Flexion-extension plane about the sagittal axis.

Fig 2.4: Various dimensional motions of Knee[26]

2.2.2 Quasi-stiffness of Knee

a = moment when heel strikes the
b = maximum moment at an angle of 15
c = moment when the leg is at the end
of weight acceptance phase
d = moment at terminal stance phase
e = moment at swing phase

Fig. 2.5: Moment-Angle Graph [2]


Biomechanical data characterizing the quasi-stiffness of lower-limb joints during human

locomotion is limited. Understanding joint stiffness is critical for evaluating gait function and
designing devices such as prostheses and orthoses intended to emulate biological properties of
human legs. The knee joint moment-angle relationship is approximately linear in the flexion and
extension stages of stance, exhibiting nearly constant stiffnesses, known as the quasi-stiffnesses
of each stage. Mechanisms that can emulate human-like biomechanics areessential for robust
performance of a number of engineered locomotion systems including anthropomorphic bipedal
robots, lower-limb wearable exoskeletons, and biologicallyinspired prosthetic limbs. Ideally,
successful emulation ofhuman locomotion in artificial systems is built upon a foundationof
simple models (theoretical or empirical) that can accurately characterize the normal mechanical
behavior of the human limb during gait.
The quasi-stiffness is defined as the stiffness of a spring that best mimics the overall behavior
of a joint during a locomotion task. It can be estimated using the slope of the best linear fit on the
moment-angle graph of the joint. The quasi-stiffness of a joint explains how a joint functions
during a locomotion task or phase, distinguishing it from the passive and active stiffness of a
joint defined as a specific function of angle and time. The concept of quasi-stiffness applies
particularly well to the knee joint during stance phase of walking, where a substantial moment is
applied to compliantly support the body weight. This compliance was originally considered a
determinant factor in reducing the vertical travel of center of gravity of the body, and later shown
to play a major role in shock absorption. Applying a preliminary quasistiffness analysis revealed
a nearly linear spring-like behavior that changes with both gait speed and load carriage. Indeed, a
simple spring-like approximation of knee performance leads to much simpler mechanical designs
of assistive devices, leading to greater robustness, lower cost, lighter weight, and higher shock
tolerance. From the experimental side, it is possible to characterize the kinetic and kinematic
behavior of the joints using data captured from humans in a gait laboratory. The characteristic
stiffness of the knee in flexion and extension modes are nearly identical at preferred walking
speed and differ as the gait speed deviates from the natural value. The variations of the
characteristic stiffness of the knee has two implications for the design of stance control orthoses.
First, the knee does not exhibit a single characteristic stiffness for all walking speeds. As shown
earlier, the characteristic stiffness of the knee changes as the gait speed varies. In an ideal case,


the design of a parallel assistive device for a wide range of walking speeds would implement a
variable stiffness mechanism to allow the characteristic stiffness of the knee in the flexion mode
to increase and in the extension mode to decrease, with some added damping, as the walking
speed increases. However, creating a truly variable stiffness mechanism is challenging in
practice. Alternatively, the design of assistive devices and bipedal robots might implement a
spring with the stiffness that is some weighted average of the expected range of gait Speeds. In
addition to the stiffness, the overall knee flexion and extension, zero moment angle, and
maximum moment also change with gait speed. The amount of rotation of the knee linearly
increases (for the flexion mode and for the extension mode) as gait speed increases. Therefore,
the design of assistive devices should allow for greater rotation when the user walks faster.

2.2.3 Load constraints on the knee

The maximum tibiofemoral compressive force reached an average load of 3.9 times bodyweight (BW) for level walking and 8 times BW for downhill walking, in each instance during the
early stance phase. Muscle forces contributed 80% of the maximum bone-on-bone force during
downhill walking and 70% during level walking whereas the ground reaction forces contributed
only 20% and 30% respectively.
Most total knee designs provide a tibiofemoral contact area of 100 to 300 mm2. The yield
point of these polyethylene inlays will therefore be exceeded with each step during downhill
walking. Future evaluation of total knee designs should be based on a tibiofemoral joint load of
3.5 times BW at 20 knee.
The highest knee joint loadings occurred during downhill walking. The peak joint moments
occurred at 41 6 knee flexion and were 2.75 0.5 Nm/kg for females and 2.70 0.7 Nm/kg
for males. The vertical joint reaction forces were 15.2 1.6 N/kg for females and 15.5 1.9
N/kg for males. Flexion was 8 times BW at 40 and 6 times BW at 60.




Orthotics (Greek: , ortho, "to straighten" or "align") is a specialty within the medical
field concerned with the design, manufacture and application of orthoses. An orthosis (plural:
orthoses) is "an externally applied device used to modify the structural and functional
characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system". An orthotist is the primary medical
clinician responsible for the prescription, manufacture and management of orthoses. An orthosis
may be used to:

Control, guide, limit and/or immobilize an extremity, joint or body segment for a

particular reason

To restrict movement in a given direction

To assist movement generally

To reduce weight bearing forces for a particular purpose

To aid rehabilitation from fractures after the removal of a cast

To otherwise correct the shape and/or function of the body, to provide easier movement

capability or reduce pain

A Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) is an orthosis that encumbers the knee, ankle and foot.
Motion at all three of these lower limb areas is affected by a KAFO and can include stopping
motion, limiting motion, or assisting motion in any or all of the three planes of motion in a
human joint: sagittal, coronal, and axial. Mechanical hinges, as well as electrically controlled
hinges have been used. Various materials for fabrication of a KAFO include but are not limited
to metals, plastics, fabrics, and leather. Conditions that might benefit from the use of a KAFO
include paralysis, joint laxity or arthritis, fracture, and others. Although not as widely used as
knee orthoses, KAFOs can make a real difference in the life of a paralyzed person, helping them
to walk therapeutically or, in the case of polio patients on a community level. These devices are
expensive and require maintenance. Some research is being done to enhance the design, even
NASA helped spearhead the development of a special knee joint for KAFOs


Traditionally, the affected knee is supported during walking using a kneeanklefoot orthosis
(KAFO), comprising a rigid thermoplastic cast formed around the impaired leg. Traditional
KAFO lock the knees throughout the gait cycle therefore demands compensatory, unnatural, and
metabolically expensive movements from the wearer.
Stance control KAFOs (SCKAFOs) have recently been commercialized and used clinically
for patients with paresis and paralysis in the lower limb muscles. Unlike traditional KAFOs,
SCKAFOs actively lock the knee only during the stance phase and allow for free rotation during
the swing phase. This improvement has led to many medical benefits, including increased
walking speed, knee range of motion, stride, step lengths, user satisfaction, reduced energy
expenditure and gait asymmetry, as well as kinematic benefits to both affected and unaffected
legs, compared with regular KAFOs. However, rigid locking of the knee joint during stance
phase in current SCKAFOs hinders the shock absorbing flexion of the knee, and can potentially
cause increased metabolic cost, user pain and discomfort and limited gait speed.

2.3.1 Types of Exoskeletons

The exoskeletons are of two types:
Parallel type:
Increases Strength

Load Carrying

High-g Gaits

Energy Recovery

Power Assist
Fig. 2.6: Parallel type [15]


User Force is directly effective

Gives Position feedback to user


Passive assist requires disengagement to allow foot lift

Exoskeleton assist adds Force

Series Type:
Increases Extension

Shock Reduction

Energy Recovery

Possible Increased Joint Stress


Fig. 2.7: Series Type [15]

User Motion is directly effective

Passive Assist can cause foot dragging, interfere with normal gait

Gives direct Force feedback to user

Active assist adds Motion

For the current project, the parallel type of exoskeleton will be used which is ideal for our
usage in the case of load carrying and power assisted usage in the form of support of knees.


3.1 Moment Angle behavior of Knee

Fig. 3.1: Lower Extremity Limbs [2]

Fig. 3.2: Moment-Angle Cycle for unimpaired knee [2]


Fig.3.1 schematically depicts the lower extremity limbs in a gait cycle, and Fig. 3.2-bottom
shows a typical moment-angle cycle for an unimpaired knee during walking on level ground,
with the corresponding gait instants labeled. The stance phase of walking is composed of a
weight acceptance phase [first 40%, as depicted in Fig. 2(a)(c)] and a stance termination phase
[40%63%, as shown in Fig. 2(c) and (d)]. During the weight acceptance phase, the knee
undergoes substantial loads to support the weight of the superior limbs; therefore, it is highly
prone to collapse without proper function of the musculature system or external assistance during
this phase. As Fig. 2 shows and previous research suggests, the knee behaves close to a linear
torsional spring in the weight-acceptance phase (particularly at the preferred gait speed). This
spring stiffness is defined as the slope of a linear fit to the moment angle graph of the knee in this
Fig. 2. Top: Schematic of lower extremity limbs during a gait cycle. Knee behaves close to a
torsional spring in the weight acceptance phase of the gait as indicated. Bottom: Moment-angle
graph for the knee of a subject walking at 1.25. Slope of the linear fit to the graph in the weight
acceptance phase is termed as the knee quasi-stiffness in this phase. Knee function can be
replaced by a linear torsional spring with spring constant equal to the knee quasi-stiffness. The
knee exhibits substantially smaller quasi-stiffness and moment during the terminal stance phase
and remains nearly silent during the swing phase of the gait; implying a less eminent need for
external stabilization. In our previous work, we investigated the linear moment- angle behavior
of the lower extremity joints.

3.2 Design Objectives

In order to approximate the linear moment- angle behavior of the knee, a compliant knee
joint should engage a linear torsional spring in parallel with the knee at the onset of the stance
phase and disengage it at the end of the weight acceptance phase to allow for free motion during
the rest of the gait. Considering the biological performance of the human knee explained in the
previous section and extensive consultation we received from orthotists, we envision the
following functional and safety requirements for the designed exoskeleton:


1. The knee joint stiffness of the mechanism, in stance, should be sizable selectable
for a specific user depending on stature and gait conditions.
2. The mechanism should be capable of accommodating torsional stiffness of 80
750 and maximum moment of up to 105 N.m.
3. The mechanism should provide fast switching between the weight acceptance and
the rest of the gait cycle based on the input of the sensors in the insole.
4. The mechanism should fit a range of individuals of various height, weight and
gait patterns.

3.3 Description of the total system

The Exoskeleton basically consists of 5 elements:
1. Quick Return Mechanism
2. Double Torsion Spring
3. Sensors
4. Motor
5. Micro Controller
The total system consists of a double torsion spring in parallel with the knee providing the
required stiffness during the different phases of the gait cycle. The double torsion spring is
controlled by a Control module consisting of a Whitworth Quick Return Mechanism connected
to the spring by a string. The speed of the Control module are regulated by the sensors placed in
the insole of the shoe which gives the starting and end of the stance cycle of the user. The total
system is integrated into a regular KAFO that lacks a lateral knee joint.
The lateral joint of the system is primarily composed of a thigh chassis and a shank chassis as
well as a pulley and additional structural components. The Control module is assembled on the
thigh and the spring on the shank chassis.
Exoskeleton Leg Attachment can be represented as follows:


Fig.3.3: Exoskeleton Leg Attachment 1

Fig.3.4(a): Exoskeleton Leg Attachment 2


3.3.1 Control Module

The control module consists of a Whitworth Quick Return Mechanism which controls the
stiffening and the loosening of the torsion spring. The Mechanism is designed to withstand the
load of the maximum moment of 105 N.m required during the gait cycle and provide a cyclic
stiffening and loosening of the torsion spring to go with the stance and swing cycle of the gait.
Necessary calculations have been done to design and simulate the Whitworth Quick return

3.3.2 Quick Return Mechanism

A quick return mechanism is a mechanism that converts rotary motion into reciprocating
motion at different rate for its two strokes. When the time required for the working stroke is
greater than that of the return stroke, it is a quick return mechanism.
This mechanism is made of a driving crank and of a driven slider crank. In the considered
configuration, the fixed pivot of the driven crank is located on the outside of the circle on which
the end of the driving crank moves. This leads to an alternated motion of the slider crank. The
configuration where this pivot is located inside the circle on which the end of the driving crank
moves. The angular speed of the driven crank is variable.
The duration of the motion for its part corresponding to the lower arc is shorter than the one
related to the upper arc. This is why this device is named quick return mechanism, which was
used in crank shapers, with the slow part or the stroke being used for the working time of the tool
and the quick part for the non-productive time.
The digramatical representation of different positions of Whitworth Quick return mechanism
at different walking phases can be shown as below.


Different Whitworth mechanism positions at different phases:

Fig.3.4(b): Different walking positions

Fig 3.4(c) : Different Whitworth positions at different phases


The link length claculations are found out as following:

Fig.3.5: Link Mechanism 1

return strock velocity 3

work strock velocity 2

L1 V 1

L2 V 2
r 3 2.63

r 4 Vw
2.63* r 4
(I )
L1 r 3 ' 2.63

L2 r 4
Vr 2.63 ( II )
r3 '
Vr r 3 r1 r 2 3

Vw r 3 ' r1 r 2 2

r1=length of link connecting O1 and O2


r2=length of crank
Vr =maximum return stroke velocity
Vw=maximum work stroke velocity
As slider is on same surface as point O1 in our mechanism , r7=0
For our design requirement we want maximum force to be at a point of extreme left. There for
calculation purpose we are considering extreme position. At extreme position crank will be
perpendicular to rocker:

Fig.3.6: Link Mechanism 2

r32=24r22..(from equation 3.1)
r32= 2 6 r2

r3 2 6
4 101.537

As we want 5th link to be straight with leg so that it can withstand the load.

5 165 (as the angle where we will have max stiffness is at 15o )
Now as per the given conditions using simple geometry,

Fig.3.7: Link Mechanism 3


2 =191.5370

Fig.3.8: Link Mechanism 4


........(i )

r 4 12.306cm

r 5 46.564cm


Now by trial and error method,

r1=7 cm
r2=1.40 cm
r3=6.86 cm

3.3.3 Double Torsion Spring

The Double torsion Spring is connected parallel to the knee which provides the stiffness
required to take the quasi-stiffness load off the knee. Necessary calculations have been done to
design the spring to withstand the necessary load and provide the stiffness required at different
phases of gait.
Double torsion springs are a type of torque spring that has two coils separated by a space to
Double Torsionminimize friction. These types of springs consist of a right-hand and a left-hand
coil section connected together and working in parallel. The sections are designed separately
with the total torque exerted being the sum of the two, thus called a double torsion spring.

Fig. 3.9: Double Torsion Spring

Spring Dimension Calculations:
On the basis of constrain given by experiments done before for different mechanism we
have maximum and minimum moment values, by taking mean value we have calculated the
dimensions of spring. we have assumed a suitable material for this purpose and accordingly we

have taken E value. From literature of gait cycle we have spring deflection. Using above all
constrains we have calculated the following values,

Fig.3.10: Spring Calculations

d 3

2 D n180

Diameter of spring wire (d)

=10*10-3 m

Mean coil diameter (D)

=100*10-3 m

Spring length (r)

= 9*10-3 m

Number of active coils (n)


Material Used

= Elgiloy

Modulus of elasticity (E)

=270*109 Pa

Spring force (F)

=600 N

Spring length

=100*10-3 m


Double Torsion Spring Catalogue:

Table 3.1: Double Torsion Spring Catalogue


=77.01*106 Pa

Bending stress()
Spring deflection(d)

= 9.240

Spring deflection(d)

= 0.16 rad

Spring deflection(df/rd)

= 1.45*10-3 m

Spring stiffness(k)

= 0.09*103 N/deg

Sring stiffness (k)

= 5.21*103 N/rad

Spring stiffness (k)

= 578.7*103 N/m

Energy stored( Ep=fr d/2)

= 0.61 J

3.3.4 Sensors
There are two pressure sensors placed in the heel and the toe region of the insole of the shoe.
The operation of the Control Module depends on the working of these sensors as shown in the
figure 3.11:

Fig. 3.11: Operational Control module[3]


The controller employs a microcontroller and sensor system to tighten and loosen the spring
according to the different phases of the human gait cycle.

Fig. 3.12: Curve of Knee angles v/s % Gait Cycle[3]

Another rotatory potentiometer is placed in the knee module along with the torsion spring which
measures the rotation of the knee and also the velocity of the knee by differentiating the
potentiometer signal.
These signals are used by a finite state microcontroller to calculate the required tightening and
loosening of the spring accordingly to the needs.

Fig.3.13: Force Sensing Resistor [27]


FSRs are sensors that allow you to detect physical pressure, squeezing and weight. They are
simple to use and low cost. This sensor is a Interlink model 402 FSR with 1/2 diameter sensing
region. FSR's are basically a resistor that changes its resistive value (in ohms ) depending on
how much its pressed. These sensors are fairly low cost, and easy to use but they're rarely
accurate. They also vary some from sensor to sensor perhaps 10%. So basically when you use
FSR's you should only expect to get ranges of response. While FSRs can detect weight, they're a
bad choice for detecting exactly how many pounds of weight are on them.

3.3.5 Motor Specifications

The suitable motor specifications according to the above obtained data can be,

Fig.3.14 Motor Properties

Rated Voltage: 13.5 VDC

Rated Speed: 100 RPM

Rated Load: 60 Watts

Rated Torque: 5.8 N-m (4.3 ft-lb)
Mounting: M6 screw holes
Shaft: 10mm shaft with 2 flats where flat to flat is 6.6mm and threaded end to fit a M6
tightening nut
Given rated load 60Watts we are running this motor at 40Watts power which is 66% of
maximum ,any motor will have maximum efficiency when we run motor in between 60-70%
of rated load.

3.3.6 Microcontroller Specifications

The suitable microcontroller specifications for the above obtained data can be,
Microcontroller: MPC5534: Freescale 32-bit MCU
Targeting low-end engine management applications, the Freescale MPC5534 is positioned as an
ultra-low cost 32-bit microcontroller.
The Freescale MPC5534 is ideal for any application that requires complex, real-time control. It
offers system performance along with the reliability and familiarity of the proven Power
Architecture.The Freescale MPC5534 helps you control costs while designing for increasingly
complex applications. This high-performance MCU delivers more on-chip functionality than the
current MPC500 family including a large block of embedded flash, enhanced timer systems and
a peripheral set specifically tailored for automotive and industrial applications. The Freescale
MPC5534 offers a migration path from the market-leading MPC500 family of 32-bit MCUs,
facilitating reuse of legacy software architectures.


3.3.7 Analysis of the Mechanism

The two analytical datas were obtained from the Solidworks, namely
1. Static Analysis
2. Fatigue Analysis
Static Analysis:

Fig.3.15: Static Analysis

Table 3.2: Static Material Properties


Table 3.3: Reaction Forces

Fig.3.17: Static Stress Properties

Fig.3.16: Static Displacement

Fatigue Analysis:

Table 3.4: Material Properties for Fatigue



Fig.3.18: Characteristics per cycle

Damage Characteristics:

Fig.3.19: Damage Characteristics

It was found that there is nearly no damage to the mechanism with given data.
Motor torque characteristics were found and the characteristics result was shown in the form of
graph as shown below.
The graph shows variation in Torque with the time.


Fig.3.20: Motor Torque Characteristics

Fig.3.21: Final Proposed Mechanism


From the study of the literature, it is clear that previously no viable solution was available
which would mimic the exact load on the knee during the weight acceptance and the rest of the
gait pattern in human beings. The traditional methods like KAFO and SCKAFO has severe
limitations, which made them a very unpopular choice.
The prototypes which provided a smarter Knee-Ankle-Feet-Orthosis had very complicated
and cumbersome control mechanisms and modules to provide two major advantages:
1. Quick Response time in case of change in walking speed, type of activity etc.
2. Ability to take huge loads which results from the walking of the user.
With the proposed mechanism in this project, a much simpler and basic mechanism in the
form of Witworth Quick return Mechanism replaces the earlier cumbersome one.
Through the calculations and the concept of the mechanism itself, it is evident that, this
mechanism has the potential to offer several advantages:

High versatility, whereby changing the link lengths, the mechanism can offer a wide
range of stiffness for different users.

Quick response time as the lag between actuating an intermediate mechanism like Cam
mechanism to activate the main mechanism is eliminated and the input from the electric
motor is directly converted into the output in the form of spring stiffness.


In this project, the first step was going through the previous work in the field which gave
the limitations of traditional methods like KAFO and SCKAFO and prompted us to find a newer
smarter mechanism to mimic and support the knee throughout the different phases of the gait
The next step was studying the current mechanisms which are there in the field of Quasistiffness of the Knee and the related supporting mechanisms. The complications and the
advantages of them were duly noted and a new mechanism was proposed with the position,
velocity and force analysis completed for the same.
The final step was to check the design for the fatigue life given the repeated loading on the
whitworth mechanism and also deciding the specifications of the motor based on the torque and
speed requirements.
The project finally resulted in:

Designing of a mechanism which takes half of the maximum load during the gait cycle
which a human knee experiences.

Analysing different aspects of the project using calculations, analytical relations and
theoretical formulae.
The future scope of this project includes making the design more generic and modular

which can suit a variety of operations and users based on their different needs. Also, the motor
and battery technology can be improved with motors providing intermittent high torque with
constant speed at high efficiency to ensure longer and more reliable battery life for the system.



With the latest advancements in motor and battery technologies, more durable systems can
be designed based on the same mechanism which can give stable performance for an
extended period of time.

The entire mechanism can also be made modular where springs of different stiffness can be
attached to the same control module and different control algorithms can be used for the
same mechanism according to the users requirements for various activities like running,
climbing etc.

The mechanism is designed currently for the activity of level walking at a stable speed. In
the future, the microcontroller can be programmed to control the mechanism for various
other types of activities like downhill walking, climbing, sitting etc., where the dynamics,
load requirements and other factors vary greatly.

The design can be made generic with different maximum positions of the spring giving
different maximum torque reliefs for different persons. The entire structure can be made
with collapsible links to fit persons with different height, weight or sizes. And the motor
running characteristics should be controlled by the microcontroller accordingly after
calibration based on the particular user.


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