Gamification and control of nitinol based ankle rehabilitation robot

Chong Tune Hau, Darwin Gouwanda, Alpha A. Gopalai, Cheng Yee Low, Fazah A. Hanapiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional ankle rehabilitation exercises can be monotonous and repetitive. The use of robots and games can complement the existing practices, provide an engaging environment for the patient and alleviate the physiotherapist’s workload. This paper presents an ankle rehabilitation robot that uses two nitinol wire actuators and a Pong game to provide foot plantarflexion and dorsiflexion exercises. Nitinol is a type of smart material that has high volumetric mechanical energy density and can produce translational motion. A two-state discrete antagonistic control is proposed to manipulate the actuators. The system was tested on healthy participants and stroke patients. The results showed that the robot was safe and compliant. The robot did not forcefully plantarflex or dorsiflex the foot when the participant exerted opposing force. The actuators worked antagonistically to flex to the foot as intended, in sync with the up and down motions of the player’s bat in the game. These behaviors demonstrated the feasibility of a nitinol-based ankle rehabilitation robot and a simple and yet intuitive game in providing interactive rehabilitation exercise. The robot is expected to enhance the patient’s experience, participation and compliance to the rehabilitation routine and to quantitatively monitor the patient’s recovery progress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Ankle rehabilitation
  • Nitinol
  • Rehabilitation game
  • Rehabilitation robot

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