IEEE Access, 9, 138042-138056. DOI: 10.1109/access.2021.3115956

Recent Development of Unpowered Exoskeletons for Lower Extremity: A Survey

Bin Zhang1, Tao Liu1, Bin Zhang2 and Michael Pecht3
1State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power and Mechatronic System, School of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.
2Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
3 Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, CO 20742, USA.


Unpowered exoskeletons (UEs) have attracted extensive research attentions for their portability, handleability and simplicity. However, designing exoskeletons without any active actuators is a great challenge because essential criteria such as performance enhancement, low impedance, and comfort must be met. This paper reviews the UEs researches from three aspects including modeling for understanding gait pattern, mechanical designs, and validation methods, which are main considerations of designing UEs. This review is based on the reported works in the past two decades and underlines some practical opportunities and challenges. Statistical data analysis and critical reviews are stated to understand human gait patterns, designing of UEs, and ergonomic validation. This review is trying to inspire a common understanding about passive exoskeletons for lower extremity and promote discussion among researchers, developers, or robotic practitioners.

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