Journal Papers
Lower-Limb-Assisting Robotic Exoskeleton Reduces Energy Consumption in Healthy Young Persons during Stair Climbing
Year of publication
H. Woo, K. Kong, D. Rha
Applied Bionics and Biomechanics


Many robotic exoskeletons for lower limb assistance aid walking by reducing energy costs. However, investigations examining stair-climbing assistance have remained limited, generally evaluating reduced activation of related muscles. This study sought to investigate how climbing assistance by a robotic exoskeleton affects energy consumption. Ten healthy young participants wearing a robotic exoskeleton that assists flexion and extension of hip and knee joints walked up nine flights of stairs twice at a self-selected speed with and without stair-climbing assistance. Metabolic cost was assessed by measuring oxygen consumption, heart rate, and the time to climb each flight of stairs. Net oxygen cost (NOC) and total heart beats (THB) were used as measures of metabolic cost, accounting for different climbing speeds. Stair-climbing assistance reduced NOC and THB by 9.3% () and 6.9% (), respectively, without affecting climbing speed. Despite lack of individual optimization, assistive joint torque applied to the hip and knee joints reduced metabolic cost and cardiovascular burden of stair climbing in healthy young males. These results may be used to improve methods for stair ascent assistance. 

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