Passive Exoskeleton-Assisted Gait Shows a Unique Interlimb Coordination Signature Without Restricting Regular Walking.
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Exoskeleton assistive devices have been developed as a potential approach to solve gait deficits like paretic propulsion and reduced speed. However, it is unclear how these devices affect inter-limb coordination. The duration and the synchrony of gait coordination was assessed during passive exoskeleton-assisted walking in healthy young individuals. It was hypothesized that inter-limb coordination would be reduced in comparison to normal walking without assistance, thus demonstrating gait with exoskeleton to be more explorative and flexible. Eighteen participants were divided into two groups (EXO: n = 9; NO EXO: n = 9) and performed a 5-min walking trial at a preferred walking speed after a familiarization trial. The duration of inter-limb coordination was examined using cross-recurrence quantification analysis and the synchrony was measured using cross sample entropy. There were no significant differences in spatiotemporal measurements between the two groups. However, in comparison to the no exoskeleton group, there was a reduction in the duration of coordination (mean diagonal length: p < 0.01) and the synchrony of coordination (entropy value: p < 0.05) in the exoskeleton group. These results indicate that exoskeletal-assisted gait is characterized by reduced inter-limb coordination possibly for allowing gait patterns to be more explorative and flexible. This is important in rehabilitation of patients who suffer from coordination deficits.
author list (cited authors)
Sado, T., Motz, Z., Yentes, J. M., & Mukherjee, M.
complete list of authors
Sado, Takashi||Motz, Zachary||Yentes, Jennifer M||Mukherjee, Mukul