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Mechatronics
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/mechatronics

HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot


for hip rehabilitation
C.H. Guzmn-Valdivia a,, A. Blanco-Ortega b, M.A. Oliver-Salazar b, F.A. Gmez-Becerra b,
J.L. Carrera-Escobedo a
a
b

Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Universidad Politcnica de Zacatecas (UPZ), Plan de Pardillo S/N, 99056 Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico
Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Centro Nacional de Investigacin y Desarrollo Tecnolgico (CENIDET), Interior Internado Palmira S/N, 62490 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 17 September 2014
Accepted 10 June 2015
Available online xxxx
Keywords:
Hip-joint rehabilitation
Mechatronics
PID controller
Impedance controller

a b s t r a c t
The hip is the strongest joint of the human body. A wide range of disorders and fractures can affect the
hip. The use of therapeutic robots has the potential to reduce the physical workload of rehabilitation and
to improve repeatability. In this paper, a simple hip-joint rehabilitation robot (HipBot) is presented to
perform combined movements of abduction/adduction and exion/extension. HipBot has 5-DOF and
can perform combined movements. This system can learn specic exercise motions through a GUI and
perform them without the physiotherapist. In addition, HipBot is capable of performing rehabilitation
on both right and left legs (individually). The simple mechanism covers the requirements of stability
and robustness necessary for hip-joint rehabilitation. The mechatronic design and control technique
are described. The robot system was tested in a small group of healthy subjects. The experimental results
carried out on healthy subjects proved the high performance of the rehabilitation device and showed its
great potential.
2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
In recent years, the rehabilitation of patients with physical disability has attracted the interest of several universities, private
institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) [1].
Stroke is the leading cause of disability in developed countries
and the third leading cause of death worldwide [2]. Neurological
impairment after stroke frequently leads to hemiplegia or partial
paralysis of one side of the body that affects the patients ability
to perform activities of daily living (ADL) [3]. Hence, this health
problem requires urgent attention, not only due to the physical
disability, but also it affects the patients with limited mobility
and decreases their quality of life (QOL) [4]. Physiotherapy, in a
general sense, is one of the health sciences dedicated to the treatment of injuries, illness and disabilities through therapeutic exercises [5]. The goal of therapeutic exercises is to reduce stiffness
and restore full range of movement (ROM) [6]. A rehabilitation process after stroke, spinal cord injury (SCI) or surgical operations
such as total hip replacement (THR) is important to regain functionality and mobility [7].
The rehabilitation of the hip is generally addressed in three
sequential phases [8], see Fig. 1. First, passive exercises to enable
Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +52 493 935 71 02.
E-mail address: cesar.gzm@hotmail.com (C.H. Guzmn-Valdivia).

full ROM of the hip. The therapist moves the joint without the
patients muscles being used. Second, active exercises to move
the hip muscles. This exercise is performed by the patient himself
without resistance. Once the required ROM and exibility is
achieved and the muscles become strong enough to bear partial
weight without inducing pain, then the nal phase of therapy
can be initiated with resistive exercises, focusing on the enhancement of proprioceptive abilities through gait. In general, a hip rehabilitation therapy is a long process which requires manual
exercises, time and patience. However, the physical movements
for hip-joint rehabilitation are very demanding and therefore the
session time is usually limited by the physiotherapist.
Furthermore, in rehabilitation centers, there is not enough medical
staff to attend various patients with hip disabilities simultaneously. For this reason, mechatronics encourages the innovation of
therapeutic robots in the eld of rehabilitation. A therapeutic robot
can replace the physical effort of therapy and accomplish physical
movements without the guidance and assistance of a physiotherapist [9]. In addition, several studies [1013] have demonstrated
that therapeutic robots have great potential in the assistance of
patients rehabilitation exercises.
In 1970, the concept of Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) was
introduced by Salter et al. [14]. The CPM machines are used widely
in medical centers and hospitals to perform passive rehabilitation
exercises when the physiotherapist cannot be present [15,16].

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechatronics.2015.06.007
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Please cite this article in press as: Guzmn-Valdivia CH et al. HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot for hip rehabilitation.
Mechatronics (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechatronics.2015.06.007

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Fig. 1. Hip rehabilitation process.

Unfortunately, these machines do not replicate the most important


rehabilitation movements of the hip-joint (abduction/adduction
and exion/extension) and are not suitable for physical therapy.
When the patient requires complete therapy, it is necessary to
combine both movements. For example draw imaginary circles
using the patients leg. Because of this, there is a need for a device
which can accomplish both movements simultaneously. There
have been attempts to develop robotic systems to restore mobility.
These systems can be classied in upper and lower limbs [1719].
However, since rehabilitation robots are signicantly different
from upper limbs to lower limbs, special attention must be given
to their movement capability (mechanical design). The robots for
upper limbs are a eld which is expected to grow as a solution in
performing specic therapeutic movements for hand and arm
[20,21]. Lum et al. developed a prototype called MIME (Mirror
Image Motion Enabler) which implements rehabilitation exercises
for upper extremities [22]. Krebs et al. [23] developed a robot for
the arm called MIT-MANUS which has been clinically evaluated.
Other robots for the upper limbs rehabilitation are REHAROB
[24], ARM Guide [25], T-WREX [26], ARMIN [27], BI MANU
TRACK [28] and GENTLE/s [29].
Robots for lower limbs are divided in two groups: treadmill gait
trainers and stationary systems [30]. Treadmill gait trainers such as
Lokomat [31] and Gait Trainer [32] are commercially available
rehabilitation robots. Other robotic systems are prototypes under
development by researchers such as ARTHuR [33], ALEX [34],
LOPES [35], ALTRACO [36] and String-Man [37]. Stationary systems
were designed to exercise the human foot [38], ankle [3941] and
leg without walking. A stationary system for the leg is focused on
guided movements in order to have a therapeutic exercise. Sakaki
et al. [42] proposed a hip rehabilitation robot based on an impedance control methodology with 3-degree-of-freedom (DOF),
where the arm mechanism can follow the motion of the lower
extremity in the sagittal plane, thus a wide ROM is realized. The
position and force are received and recorded by the robotic system
to imitate the corresponding motion. Moughamir et al. [43] developed a computer-controlled machine for training and rehabilitation of the lower limbs called Multi-Iso. This 1-DOF uses classical
force, position and speed control methods developed with fuzzy
control techniques. Aguirre-Ollinger et al. [44] developed another
system for stretching the joint of a spastic knee. The prototype
had similar function and performance as MultiIso, with the additional advantage of portability.
Later, in 2002 Homma et al. [45] developed a 4-DOF leg rehabilitation system which employs a wire-driven mechanism around
the patients bed. The passive motions can be achieved with relatively low power actuators compared with the mechanisms that
use conventional rigid links. Bradley et al. [46] developed a
2-DOF autonomous system called NeXOS which is able to perform
rehabilitation exercises using visual pre-training position information. The prototype can provide direct support to the therapist during limb manipulation. In [47], Hashimoto et al. developed a 3-DOF
robotic biofeedback exercise equipment that displays human muscle force during training. The manipulator is designed to support
lower limb rehabilitation of knee and hip joints in a sagittal plane.

The system was further studied in [48] through several tests with
healthy subjects. The MotionMaker is a commercial lower limb
rehabilitation system developed by Swortech SA. The system is
composed of two robotic orthosis which enable a controlled movement of the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Its control algorithm
includes a model based feed-forward and electrical muscle stimulation [49]. Akdogan and Adli introduced in 2011 a 3-DOF therapeutic exercise robot for lower limb rehabilitation named
Physiotherabot. This system has been described in [50,51] and
the rst tests with healthy subjects have been reported in [52].
This system was controlled through a HumanMachine Interface
that operated on a rule-based control structure combined with
impedance control. Other leg rehabilitation devices were proposed
in [5357], however no prototypes have been developed.
The main objective of the system developed in this study
HipBot is to perform the most important rehabilitation movements of the hip-joint (abduction/adduction and exion/extension) using a robust mechanism and a simple controller. In terms
of movement capability, the closest system to HipBot is
Physiotherabot. What distinguishes HipBot from this system is that
it has 5-DOF and can perform combined movements. In addition,
HipBot is capable of performing rehabilitation on both right and
left legs (individually). The preliminary simulation results of this
system have been published [58,59]. Therefore, there is no evidence of the physical prototype and experimental results on
healthy subjects. The principal contribution of HipBot is its simple
mechatronic design instead of a complex robotic system. The proposed mechanism which uses linear actuators covers the requirements of stability and robustness necessary for rehabilitation.
One of the objectives of mechatronics is to design simple machines
[60,61]. In this context, a PID controller was proposed to follow a
smooth planned trajectory. The novelty in this study is the development of the prototype with experimental results. In order to
demonstrate the developed robot, tests were carried out with
healthy subjects. Tests with real patients in a medical center are
being planned and these results will be introduced in future studies. The presentation of this work is structured as follows. Section 2
briey introduces the theory of the hip rehabilitation. Section 3
contains the mechatronic design process of the system developed.
Section 4 presents the experimental results obtained with healthy
subjects. Finally, Section 5 concludes the paper.
2. Hip-joint rehabilitation movements
This section identies the design requirements for the construction of the prototype. To obtain the technical specications of the
therapeutic robot, the anatomical data of the human hip is used
as primary specication for the design. The main purpose of the
hip joint is to support body weight and ambulation. The motion
of the hip can be well described by rotations in three axes which
are perpendicular to the anatomical planes [62]. The hip movements are shown in Fig. 2. The ROM for a human hip is reported
in Table 1. The internal/external rotations of the hip-joint are not
very common in therapies, hence the design of HipBot is based
only on abduction/adduction and exion/extension.
3. System description
3.1. System architecture
In general, the proposed therapeutic robot in this paper has one
active rotary joint for abduction/adduction movements and four
active translational joints for exion/extension movements. As an
end effector, a boot is attached to the patients foot with three
internal passive joints. The schematic structure of HipBot and the

Please cite this article in press as: Guzmn-Valdivia CH et al. HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot for hip rehabilitation.
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Fig. 2. Human hip and its corresponding movements.

3.2. Mathematical model of HipBot

Table 1
Hip range of motion.
Type of motion

Max. allowable motion ()

Flexion
Extension
Abduction
Adduction
External rotation
Internal rotation

120
20
45
30
45
45

The dynamic model of HipBot according to the EulerLagrange


method [63] is expressed by Eq. (1). Where L is the Lagrangian, K is
the total kinetic energy of the system, P is the total potential
energy of the system, qi is the generalized coordinate and Qi is
the external force or torque applied to the system.

 
d @L
@L

Qi
dt @ q_ i
@qi

actuators conguration are illustrated in Fig. 3. As shown in Fig. 3,


the bottom part presents the mechatronic system equipped with
linear and rotary actuators. d2, d4 and d5 denotes the vertical displacement of the linear Actuators 2, 4 and 5, respectively. d3
denotes the horizontal displacement of the linear Actuator 3. h is
the angular displacement of the power rotary Actuator 1 to perform abduction/adduction. m2, m3, m4 and m5 are the concentrated
masses of the robot, J is the mass inertia of the entire mechanism.
F2, F3, F4 and F5 denotes the force input of the linear Actuators 2, 3,
4 and 5, respectively. s denotes the torque input of the rotary
Actuator 1. a denotes the distance from the Actuator 1 to the center
of the robot. The top part presents the patient in supine position.
The leg is attached to the boot of the mechanical system. In this
particular case, the mass of the human leg is not taken into account
because the proposed mechanism is robust to the unknown leg
weight. i.e., the linear actuator is a stable power transmission
structure (gravity compensation). For this reason, in the mathematical model only the masses m2, m3, m4 and m5 are considered.
In addition, the requirement of stability and position control is
complemented with the PID controller.

The total kinetic energy of HipBot is shown in Eq. (2). Where:


wm m2 m3 .

1 _2 1
1
1
2
J h wm a2 h_ 2 wm d_2 2 m3 ad3 h_ 2 m3 d3 h_ 2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
m3 d_3 2 m4 d_4 2 m5 d_5 2
2
2
2

The total potential energy of HipBot is shown in Eq. (3). Where:


g = gravity.

P wm d2 g m4 d4 m5 d5 g

The Lagrangian (L = K  P) is shown in Eq. (4).

1 _2 1
1
1
2
J h wm a2 h_ 2 wm d_ 22 m3 ad3 h_ 2 m3 d3 h_ 2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
m3 d_ 23 m4 d_ 24 m5 d_ 25  wm d2 g  m4 d4 m5 d5 g
2
2
2

The mathematical model that describes the dynamic behavior


of the therapeutic robot HipBot is shown in Eq. (5). As it can
be seen, this dynamic model is much more simple compared to
robotic arm models.

Fig. 3. Schematic diagram of the therapeutic robot.

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s1 J wm a2 2m3 ad3 m3 d23 h 2m3 ad_ 3 2m3 d_ 3 h_


2 wm g
F 2 wm d
3
F 3 m3 d
m g
F m d
4

4 4

5 m5 g
F 5 m5 d
The mathematical model described by Eq. (5) can be represented as follows:

Cq; q
_ q_ u
Mqq

Here, M(q) 2 R55 is inertia matrix, C(q, q_) 2 R55 represents the
Coriolis, centrifugal force and other effects such as the gravitational
force of the mechanism, q 2 R51 represents the generalized coordinates and u 2 R51 represents the joint force and torque required
to drive the robot.

2
6
6
6
Mq 6
6
6
4

J wm a2 2m3 ad3 m3 d3

wm

m3

m4

7
0 7
7
0 7
7
7
0 5

0
0
0
0 m5
3
2 3
2 3
s1
h
2m3 ad_ 3 2m3 d_ 3 0 0 0 0
7
6
6 7
6 7
6
6 F2 7
6 d2 7
0
0 0 0 07
7
6
6 7
6 7
6 7
6 7
_ 6
Cq; q
0
0 0 0 07
7; u 6 F 3 7; q 6 d3 7
6
7
6
6 7
6 7
F
5
5
4
4
4 d4 5
0
0 0 0 0
4
F
d5
0
0 0 0 0
5
7
Additionally, the angular position of the hip joint and knee joint
can be obtained using the Cartesian coordinates x05 , y05 and z05 . The
mathematical models that describe the kinematic behavior of the
hip-joint abduction/adduction, hip-joint exion/extension and
knee joint are shown in Eqs. (8)(10), respectively. For more details
see [58]. Where: L1 is the distance from the hip-joint to the
knee-joint, L2 is the distance from the knee-joint to the
ankle-joint, h is the angle of the hip-joint in abduction/adduction,
a is the angle of the hip joint in exion/extension, and b is the angle
of the knee joint. The angular position of the hip joint is not
addressed directly in this paper. However, Eqs. (9) and (10) represent only the interaction between the actuators and the hip-joint
movements as a reference point.

 0
y5
x05

a Atan

8
z05

x05 2 y05 2
0q1
x05 2 y05 2 z05 2 L21  L22 Cosb2
A
 Atan@
L1 L2 Cosb

x05 2 y05 2 z05 2  L21  L22


b Acos
2L1 L2

 Safety. As the system is in direct contact with the patient, safety


requirements are overriding for the robot. The device must be
safe from the therapists viewpoint.
 Comfort. The device must be comfortable and easy to t, adjust
and remove.
 Range of motion. The device must reach the full range of motion
for hip rehabilitation.
 Adaptability. The device must operate satisfactorily with a wide
range of patients.
The designed and manufactured robot is presented in Fig. 4.

h Atan

therapeutic motion generated by the therapist consisting on an


external mechanism that wraps around the ankle (i.e. using a
boot), hence the hip-joint is rehabilitated. The boot position can
easily and quickly be adjusted, making it easy to satisfy a wide
range of users when necessary, which is an important aspect of
the mechanical design. Furthermore, based on the hip-joint rehabilitation movements, the design requirements of HipBot were
set as follows:

!
10

3.3. Development of HipBot


3.3.1. Mechanical design
The inspiration for the design used in HipBot were the therapeutic exercises. In the therapeutic exercise, the ankle prescribes
a unique and simple motion in order to exion/extension and
abduction/adduction the hip. We used a simplied model of the

3.3.2. Mechanism specications


The mechanical design of HipBot is a combination of various
actuators that provides stability and robustness. i.e., the mechanism supports the entire weight of the leg with an excellent position control. The basic design of the robot mechanism is 1-DOF in
the frontal plane that allows abduction/adduction of the hip-joint
(Actuator 1). Additionally, the 4-DOF in the sagittal plane allows
exion/extension (Actuators 25). The mechanical structure is
fully capable of carrying out all the exercises required by
hip-joint rehabilitation protocols. The lead screws inside the robot
satisfy the requirements of high force and torque capacity. The
main structure is constructed primarily of composite and aluminum materials, with high stress joint sections made in steel.
This results in a light, low cost and comfortable structure providing
a stable prototype. It also has a drive system, a switch box, an
emergency button, an I/O box and a control PC (Fig. 5(a)).
The size of the structure was designed to match the anthropometric data of an average person. The prototype is 1 m wide, 2 m
long and 0.7 m high. The mechanism is able to compensate any
gravitational load with the use of lead screws. These lead screws
are able to move the lower limbs of a patient whose weight is up
to 150 kg. The mechanism can be adjusted from the patients
height 1.5 m up to 1.8 m and used for both the left and right leg
(individually). The system parameters are given in Table 2. The
robot was driven by three EMG49 DC motors with a maximum torque output of 1.5 Nm, and two IOWA LD linear actuators in parallel
connected together by a footplate with revolute joints. HipBot is
able to perform abduction/adduction for the hip where only
Actuator 1 works (Fig. 5(b)) and exion/extension where
Actuators 25 work together (Fig. 5(c)). The maximum ROM
reached by HipBot is 45 in abduction/adduction and 120/20
in exion/extension.
3.3.3. Hardware, safety, and interface
The block diagram of the system hardware is shown in Fig. 6.
The controller was implemented using a microcontroller
PIC18F4550 for analog/digital data conversion, and LABVIEW
software (National Instruments) which is a Windows graphical
programming language. The system has ve force sensors
(FSR-Interlink Electronics). They are positioned behind the boot.
Voluntary forces exerted by the therapist are measured through
these sensors. The electrical signals generated by these sensors
are going to be used in the impedance control. A detailed explanation of the impedance and position control is given in Section 3.3.4.
Around the robot there are limit switches to stop the movement of

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Fig. 4. Overview of the virtual and physical prototype for the hip-joint rehabilitation.

Fig. 5. Prototype HipBot. (a) View of its components, (b) hip abduction/adduction, (c) hip exion/extension.

Please cite this article in press as: Guzmn-Valdivia CH et al. HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot for hip rehabilitation.
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therapeutic robot is applied to Eq. (7). The control law is given


by Eq. (11).

Table 2
System parameters.
Parameter

Value

J
m2
m3
m4
m5
Wm
a

18.197 kg m2
11.379 kg
10.265 kg
8.789 kg
8.452 kg
21.644 kg
0.5 m

the actuators. The motor driver consist in a H-Bridge circuit coupled with a PWM feedback to control the current in each actuator.
Position data from the robot is obtained via an encoder and potentiometer. For the communication between PC and microcontrollers, a RS-232 communication protocol was set up to send data.
Safety is the primary requirement to start and operate the
device. Some measures were implemented both at software and
hardware levels. Also, the system can be stopped by the subject
or physiotherapist by shutting down the power supply with an
emergency button. In addition, surveillance routines implemented
in the software include position and speed monitoring. Whenever
an abnormal event is detected, the safety circuit immediately cuts
the power of the motor drivers. As the mechanical structure was
designed with a passive weight compensation system (lead
screws) it does not collapse after power loss. All precautions implemented by software and hardware are important to keep the
patient safe.
The ease of wearing the device was considered of particular
importance in order to enable the use of the system for patients
with hip-joint disabilities. The physical adjustment of the device
to the patient is executed using the graphical user interface
(GUI). The GUI is the connection between the physiotherapist
and the mechatronic system. The design of our GUI enables us to
simulate different rehabilitation exercises. The main menu of the
GUI is used to input the patients data, save exercise data from
the teaching phase, and exercise results are stored on the database.
Additionally, this GUI does not require any special training course
because it can be operated by an inexperienced user. The intuitive
design and functionality of HipBot using the GUI allows the physiotherapist to rehabilitate naturally the hip-joint of the patient. The
system has been designed to be an aid for the physiotherapist. The
device is rst operated by the physiotherapist who conducts the
rehabilitation movements. The device learns these movements
and then can replicate them on its own.
3.3.4. Control technique
In this section, the standard PID controller with acceleration
feed-forward with compensation signals for robust tracking tasks
of reference trajectories specied for the motion axes of the

v
q
_ q_
u Mqv Cq; q

d  K d q_  q_ d  K p q  qd  K i
q

Z
0

11

q  qd dt

where Kd, Kp and Ki are constant matrices of the derivative, proportional and integral gains, respectively. The dynamic closed loop
with PID controller where the error is: e = q  qd, is given by Eq.
(12).

e K d e_ K p e K i

e dt 0

12

e K d e K p e_ K i e 0
The parameters Kd, Kp and Ki were selected to ensure that the
error dynamics is globally asymptotically stable. The characteristic
polynomial (Hurwitz) is given by Eq. (13).

Hws s2 2fwn s w2n s p


K d 2fwn p
K p 2pfwn w2n

13

K i pw2n
where :

f; wn ; p > 0

Once the controllers for the physical Actuators have been


dened, an impedance control is proposed for the programming
of the movements. The impedance control has been developed to
enable robots to smoothly move between contact and
non-contact phases of motion [64]. This technique aims at controlling the position and force by adjusting the mechanical impedance
of the robot to the external forces generated by contact. This
involved replicating the movements and trajectories performed
by the therapist to establish the range of motions required. This
control law is the most accepted in rehabilitation robot applications [65,66]. In this robot, the forces are applied at the boot. The
desired mechanical impedance is described by Eq. (14)

X
d Bd X_  X_ d C d X  X d F e
M d X

14

where X and Xd are the robots actual and desired position vectors,
respectively. Fe is the external force exerted on the robot by the
therapist; Md 2 R55, Bd 2 R55, and Cd 2 R55 correspond to the
desired inertia matrix, the desired damping coefcient matrix,
and the desired stiffness coefcient matrix, respectively.
4. Implementation of the HipBot prototype
The following results illustrate the contribution of HipBot in
physiotherapy, as well as, its control system performance and

Fig. 6. System hardware.

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Table 3
The physical specication of subjects.
Subject

Sex

Height
(cm)

Weight
(kg)

Distance from
hip to knee
(cm)

Distance from
knee to ankle
(cm)

Age

1
2

F
M

165
150

60
40

40
35

40
40

22
15

adaptation capacity for each user. Two experiments were carried


out to validate the robot user comfort and adaptability, i.e. if the
robot is adjustable to the different patient sizes and able to perform hip rehabilitation movements. Two young healthy volunteers
were recruited for this experiment whose physical specications
are given in Table 3. Due to safety issues it is currently not possible
to perform experiments on patients with hip disabilities.
Nevertheless, the results underline the benets of the system.
Before starting the experiment, the experimental procedure was
explained and consent was obtained from the subjects. In each
experiment, the subject was in a completely relaxed upward position and the therapist guided the ankle joint of the subject through
the desired trajectory.
In this study, both an impedance controller and a PID controller
have been used in all the tests. Inside the robot there are 5 impedance controllers and 5 PID controllers with different gains. In
order to control the force and position each actuator has both controllers. The impedance parameters were selected by a trial and
error method. Also, the PID parameters were obtained using the
ZieglerNichols tuning method. The controllers parameters are

Table 4
Parameters of the controllers.
PID controller

Actuator
Actuator
Actuator
Actuator
Actuator

1
2
3
4
5

Impedance controller

Kp

Kd

Ki

Md (kg)

Bd (Ns/)

Cd (N/)

450
400
350
120
110

80
80
75
45
50

35
30
25
15
15

4.5
4.25
3
2.5
2.5

0.05
0.025
0.01
0.01
0.01

1
1.2
1.5
2
2

given in Table 4. Various tests were carried out with the controllers
before the nal tests with healthy subjects. The gains of the
selected controller were used in all the tests with healthy subjects
and did not change. The control algorithm is implemented by using
a Pentium computer and the control software is LABVIEW with a
sample time of 10 ms.
In the rst experiment, the therapist taught one session of the
exion/extension motion to the robot with Subject 1. The exercise
was applied to the left hip-joint with a length of time of 80 s. Fig. 7
shows the impedance control operating and how the therapist
moves the hip-joint without the subjects muscles being used.
The movement position of the ankle is continuously tracked by
the robot. The position values and time history is recorded in real
time on the database. This data is used by the robot to generate the
same behavior. The rst tests done by the therapists revealed that
the mechanism was easy to handle. As it can be seen, the angular
position of the hip joint is obtained when the therapist combines
two or more actuators. The experimental results were focused on
the individual movement of each actuator.
Fig. 8 shows the experimental result of the robot performing hip
rehabilitation exercises with Subject 1. This rehabilitation movement follows a protocol supervised by a therapist to improve the
ROM of the patient. In this experiment only Actuators 1, 2, 3 and
4 are required to perform the rehabilitation exercise. In this exercise, the robot is able to guide the ankle joint of the subject to follow the desired position trajectory accurately. This test shows that
the robotic system can perfectly repeat the motion of the therapist
as learned during teaching mode. The rst test revealed that the
mechanism was easy to handle during the programming phase.
Fig. 9(a)(d) shows the real and desired trajectories d2, d3, d4 and
d5 of Actuators 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Fig. 9(e)(h) shows the
position errors of Actuators 25, respectively. Fig. 9(i)(l) shows
the controller outputs F2, F3, F4 and F5 of Actuators 2, 3, 4 and 5,
respectively. The experimental data show that the friction of the
mechanism and the weight of the patients leg cause a minimal disturbance on the desired trajectory tracking. In average, the errors
generated by the controllers vary between 2 mm and 2 mm.
This level of error is acceptable in the nal device due to the low
level of accuracy in human motion. The use of these controllers
are satisfying in terms of rehabilitation specications. Although,
these are restricted in terms of control performance, the robustness
of the mechanisms compensate the error generated. In this system,

Fig. 7. Direct-teaching to robot by therapist.

Fig. 8. The robot is performing the exion/extension movement in the therapists absence.

Please cite this article in press as: Guzmn-Valdivia CH et al. HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot for hip rehabilitation.
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Fig. 9. Result of exion/extension experiment with Subject 1. (a, e, i) Corresponds to Actuator 2. (b, f, j) Corresponds to Actuator 3. (c, g, k) Corresponds to Actuator 4. (d, h, l)
Corresponds to Actuator 5.

Fig. 10. The robot is performing the exion/extension and abduction/adduction movement in the therapists absence.

gravity compensation is performed by lead screws. Even though,


the actuators lift up only the weight of the patients leg.
The hip is considered to be one of the most complex joints of the
human body. This complexity of movements make the hip-joint
distinctive from a rehabilitation perspective. One group of rehabilitation exercises often used for hip treatment is based on combined
movements using exion/extension and abduction/adduction. In
the second experiment, the therapist taught one session of the exion/extension and abduction/adduction motions to the robot with
Subject 2. The exercise was applied to the right hip-joint with a
length of time of 90 s. Fig. 10 shows the experimental result of
the robot performing hip rehabilitation exercises with Subject 2.
Fig. 11(a)(e) shows the real and desired trajectories h, d2, d3, d4
and d5 of actuators 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Fig. 11(f)(j) shows
the position errors of actuators 15, respectively. Fig. 11(k) shows
the controller output s of Actuator 1. Fig. 11(l)(o) shows the controller outputs F2, F3, F4 and F5 of Actuators 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. The target angular position was set from 0 to 18. As it
can be seen from this gure, during the change of motion from
abduction to adduction, the error increases, but the robot can still

control the motion learned from the therapist. In average, the error
of the angular position was between 2.5 and 2.5. The errors
generated on Actuators 2, 3, 4 and 5 varies between 2 mm and
2 mm.
The results obtained on test 1 and 2 with healthy subjects
demonstrate the stability and robustness of the device. In both
tests, the subjects weight was different (40 kg and 60 kg) and
the device remained stable. The amount of variable error was constant in both tests. This mean that the errors were generated due to
friction and viscous damping. In addition, to increase the devices
safety, an independent electronic system is necessary. It can shut
the system down in case of reaching the maximum error allowed.
The prototype of HipBot is fully functional and robust using a simple PID controller to track owing planned trajectories. The experimental results demonstrated the excellent performance of the
hip-joint rehabilitation system. The prototype can reproduce the
rehabilitation movements of abduction/adduction and exion/extension at the same time. Such rehabilitation device can
have a great impact in improving physiotherapeutic outcomes in
hip-joint rehabilitation.

Please cite this article in press as: Guzmn-Valdivia CH et al. HipBot The design, development and control of a therapeutic robot for hip rehabilitation.
Mechatronics (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechatronics.2015.06.007

C.H. Guzmn-Valdivia et al. / Mechatronics xxx (2015) xxxxxx

Fig. 11. Result of abduction/adduction and exion/extension experiment with Subject 2. (a, f, k) Corresponds to Actuator 1. (b, g, l) Corresponds to Actuator 2. (c, h, m)
Corresponds to Actuator 3. (d, i, n) Corresponds to Actuator 4. (e, j, o) Corresponds to Actuator 5.

5. Conclusion
In this paper, a simple hip-joint rehabilitation robot which performs abduction/adduction and exion/extension at the same time
(combined movements) is presented. The prototype HipBot has
demonstrated that it is possible to develop a relatively simple
and robust system for the assistance of physiotherapist. The
approach with a 5-DOF mechanism covers the full range of motion
of the human hip-joint and provides a robust and safe mechanical
structure. The stable movements of rehabilitation were controlled
through a PID control structure combined with an impedance control. The hip-joint rehabilitation movements have been considered
as the basis for the mechanical design. The mechanism allows
enough workspace to cover the required ROM of the hip. The robot
system was tested in a small group of healthy subjects. The experimental results of HipBot proved their high performance and
showed great potential for hip-joint rehabilitation. The next study
will undertake necessary research in this regard. Future work will
engage the development of real tests on patients in collaboration
with a team of physiotherapists.
Acknowledgment
The authors thank Vanesa Robles Maldonado for her support in
improving the writing of this paper.
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