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Abstract

The work presented in this paper aims at developing a hydraulic actuation system for an ankle exoskeleton that is able to deliver a peak power of 250 W, with a maximum torque of 90 N.m and maximum speed of 320 deg/s. After justifying the choice of a servo hydraulic actuator (SHA) over an electro hydrostatic actuator (EHA) for the targeted application, some test results of a first functional prototype are presented. The closed-loop unloaded displacement frequency response of the prototype shows a bandwidth ranging from 5 Hz to 8 Hz for displacement amplitudes between +/-5mm and +/- 20mm, thus demonstrating adequate dynamic performance for normal walking speed. Then, a detailed design is proposed as a combination of commercially available components (in particular a miniature servo valve and a membrane accumulator) and a custom aluminium manifold that incorporates the hydraulic cylinder. The actuator design achieves a total weight of 1.0 kg worn at the ankle.

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