Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Engineering Degree


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Sawicki, Jerzy T.

Second Advisor

Ryan J. Farris

Third Advisor

Dan Simon


Gait impairments from disorders such as cerebral palsy are important to address early in life. A powered lower-limb orthosis can offer therapists a rehabilitation option using robot-assisted gait training. Although there are many devices already available for the adult population, there are few powered orthoses for the pediatric population. The aim of this dissertation is to embark on the first stages of development of a powered lower-limb orthosis for gait rehabilitation and assistance of children ages 6 to 11 years with walking impairments from cerebral palsy. This dissertation presents the design requirements of the orthosis, the design and fabrication of the joint actuators, and the design and manufacturing of a provisional version of the pediatric orthosis. Preliminary results demonstrate the capabilities of the joint actuators, confirm gait tracking capabilities of the actuators in the provisional orthosis, and evaluate a standing balance control strategy on the under-actuated provisional orthosis in simulation and experiment. In addition, this dissertation presents the design methodology for an anthropometrically parametrized orthosis, the fabrication of the prototype powered orthosis using this design methodology, and experimental application of orthosis hardware in providing walking assistance with a healthy adult. The presented results suggest the developed orthosis hardware is satisfactorily capable of operation and functional with a human subject. The first stages of development in this dissertation show encouraging results and will act as a foundation for further iv development of the device for rehabilitation and assistance of children with walking impairments.