Machine-learned Adaptive Switching in Voluntary Lower-limb Exoskeleton Control: Preliminary Results

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics






Lower-limb exoskeletons utilize fixed control strategies and are not adaptable to user's intention. To this end, the goal of this study was to investigate the potential of using temporal-difference learning and general value functions for predicting the next possible walking mode that will be selected by users wearing exoskeletons in order to reduce the effort and cognitive load while switching between different modes of walking. Experiments were performed with a user wearing the Indego exoskeleton and given the authority to switch between five walking modes that were different in terms of speed and turn direction. The user's switching preferences were learned and predicted from device-centric and room-centric measurements by considering similarities in the movements being performed. A switching list was updated to show the most probable future next modes to be selected by the user. In contrast to other approaches that either can only predict a single time-step or require intensive offline training, this work used a computationally inexpensive method for learning and has the potential of providing temporally extended sets of predictions in real-time. Comparing the number of required manual switches between the machine-learned switching list and the best possible static lists showed an average decrease of 42.44% in the required switches for the machine-learned adaptive strategy. These promising results will facilitate the path for real-time application of this technique.

Funding Sponsor

Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Mechanical Engineering