Design and control of lower extremity robotic prostheses are iterative tasks that would greatly benefit from testing platforms that would autonomously replicate realistic gait conditions. This paper presents the design of a novel mobile 3-degree-of-freedom (DOF) parallel manipulator integrated with a mobile base to emulate human gait for lower limb prosthesis evaluation in the sagittal plane. The integrated mobile base provides a wider workspace range of motion along the gait direction and reduces the requirement of the parallel manipulator’s actuators and links. The parallel manipulator design is optimal to generate the defined gait trajectories with both motion and force requirements using commercially available linear actuators. An integrated active force control with proportional integral derivative (PID) control provided more desirable control compared to traditional PID control in terms of error reduction. The novelty of the work includes the methodology of human data-oriented optimal mechanism design and the concept of a mobile parallel robot to extend the translational workspace of the parallel manipulator with substantially reduced actuator requirements, allowing the evaluation of prostheses in instrumented walkways or integrated with instrumented treadmills.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues