Previdi F., T. Schauer, S.M. Savaresi, K.J. Hunt
This paper deals with design of feedback controllers for knee joint movement of paraplegics using functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the paralyzed quadriceps muscle group.
The controller design approach, virtual reference feedback tuning (VRFT), is directly based on open loop measured data and fits the controller in such a way that the closed-loop meets a model
reference objective. The use of this strategy, avoiding the modeling step, significantly reduces the time required for controller design and considerably simplifies the rehabilitation protocols. Linear and nonlinear controllers have been designed and experimentally tested, preliminarily on a healthy subject and finally on a paraplegic patient. Linear controller is effective when applied on small range of knee joint angle. The design of a nonlinear controller allows better performances. It is also shown that the control design is effective in tracking assigned knee angle trajectories and rejecting disturbances.