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Myoelectric Control for Adaptable Biomechanical Energy Harvesting.

Cover of research paper by Queen's researcher, Dr. Jessica SelingerWe have designed and tested a myoelectric controller that automatically adapts energy harvesting from the motion of leg joints to match the power available in different walking conditions. To assist muscles in performing negative mechanical work, the controller engages power generation only when estimated joint mechanical power is negative. When engaged, the controller scales its resistive torque in proportion to estimated joint torque, thereby automatically scaling electrical power generation in proportion to the available mechanical power. To produce real-time estimates of joint torque and mechanical power, the controller leverages a simple model that predicts these variables from measured muscle activity and joint angular velocity. We first tested the model using available literature data for a range of walking speeds and found that estimates of knee joint torque and power well match the corresponding literature profiles (torque R 2 : 0.73-0.92; power R 2 : 0.60-0.94). We then used human subject experiments to test the performance of the entire controller. Over a range of steady state walking speeds and inclines, as well as a number of non-steady state walking conditions, the myoelectric controller accurately identified when the knee generated negative mechanical power, and automatically adjusted the magnitude of electrical power generation. (Read More)