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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis presents a new mechanical design for an exoskeleton actuator to power the sagittal plane motion in the human hip. The device uses a DC motor to drive a Scotch yoke mechanism and series elasticity to take advantage of the cyclic nature of human gait and to reduce the maximum power and control requirements of the exoskeleton. The Scotch yoke actuator creates a position-dependent transmission that varies between 4:1 and infinity, with the peak transmission ratio aligned to the peak torque periods of the human gait cycle. Simulation results show that both the peak and average motor torque can be reduced using this mechanism, potentially allowing a less powerful motor to be used. Furthermore, the motor never needs to reverse direction even when the hip joint does. Preliminary testing shows the exoskeleton can provide an assistive torque and is capable of accurate position tracking at speeds covering the range of human walking. This thesis provides a detailed analysis of how the dynamic nature of human walking can be leveraged, how the hip actuator was designed, and shows how the exoskeleton performed during preliminary human trials.


First Advisor

Frank C Sup

Second Advisor

James Rinderle

Third Advisor

Yossi Chait