A bionic test-bed for sensing and balance augmentation in biological applications
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Copyright 2016 by ASME. In this research, we are working to develop a wearable device for stabilizing walking in dachshunds with spinal cord injuries. Our approach is to use sensors on the dog to measure the angle of the torso and stimulate leg motion to balance the animal during standing and walking. The first step in this work is to develop a mechanical test-bed in order to replicate the motion and muscle response during the gait of the dog. This testbed will be used for exploring sensor device operation and for developing appropriate leg stimulation to achieve stability. This robotic testbed is a replica of dog's rear limbs and is programmed to mimic the gait of the dog. Our initial experiments test the automatic stabilization of the robot by mimicking the walking gait of a healthy dog. We use test data from an actual dog walking on a treadmill to develop representative walking gait characteristics for use on our experimental test bed. Our results show that our bionic dog is an acceptable replica for use in testing the stabilization and control algorithms.