Best paper award at the WeRob2020/WearRAcon Europe 2020 conference for Prof. Dr. Anne Koelewijn

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At the WeRob2020/WearRAcon Europe 2020 conference, Prof. Anne Koelewijn was awarded the best paper award, sponsored by Sensors journal. At the conference, she presented the paper “Predictive Gait Simulations of Human Energy Optimization”, collaborative work with Prof. Jessica Selinger, who leads the Neuromechanics Lab at Queen’s university in Kingston, Canada.

This paper investigates if predictive simulations can be used to design exoskeleton controllers and experiments into altered energy landscapes. To validate this, we aimed to recreate an existing experimental paradigm in simulation, where the energy landscape and the optimal step frequency are changed using a penalizing exoskeleton. In this experiment, it was observed that participants change their step frequency towards the optimum of the new energy landscape, which highlights the importance of energy minimization in human movements. We modelled an idealized version of the exoskeleton at the knee by added a penalizing torque, which was a function of the step frequency. We were able to recreate the experimental paradigm in simulation and predict the altered energy landscape, as well as the change step frequency towards the new optimum. Next, we aim to use our simulation framework to design and analyse other experimental paradigms where energy landscapes are changed using smart exoskeleton control.