ARKOPY - Autonomous Robotic Knee Orthosis for Training and Therapy

Duration: 08.2022 - 08.2024

Keywords: Medical Technology, Active Exoskeleton, Artificial Intelligence, Lightweight Construction

The project management organisation lent by the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg is VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.

Mobility is the basis for an active and self-determined life. The sharp increase in physical limitations as a result of neurological damage caused by strokes and heart attacks can be countered with innovative robotic treatment methods in the form of active exoskeletons. The parameters of weight, degree of support and duration of use define the effectiveness of exoskeletons in therapy. There is a great interest among rehabilitation clinics in particularly light and at the same time powerful aids. The objective of the proposed project is an active knee orthosis with a novel innovative lightweight actuator and an AI-based control system for optimal adaptation to a wide range of users and activities. A special leg simulator will be developed to verify the functional demonstrator. This can be used to realistically model different activities, thus optimising the control algorithms and demonstrating the performance. The key to achieving this ambitious goal is a new type of biomimetic knee joint drive, which comes close to the properties of the human knee joint through the use of high-strength cables and specially shaped pulleys for an angle-dependent force transmission. In addition, an intelligent support algorithm based on machine learning is being developed. This is intended to ensure optimal support for the user during the various activities. To realise the project, Advanced Mechatronics GmbH, as a specialist in safe electronics and medical technology, is cooperating with the Institute for High Integrity Mechatronic Systems at Aalen University. The developed functional demonstrator will be validated at the end of the project at the Zihlschlacht rehabilitation clinic through a technical trial. The industrialisation of the results will be carried out by Advanced Mechatronics after the project is completed.

Sponsored by

in the programme

Cyber-physical drive modules for maritime applications

The cyber-physical drive modules for maritime applications (CHARISMA) research project pursues the research and development of intelligent, highly integrated, digital, mechatronic drive modules that can be used as cyber-physical systems in marine technology.


  • Research into a suitable prognosis and health management concept to increase the availability of the modules
  • Research and development of suitable motor, sensor and electronic modules
  • Research and use of new materials for maritime applications
  • Integration of Industry 4.0-compatible interfaces and protocols
  • The modules should be usable in a wide variety of system architectures (centralised / decentralised application)
  • Development of fault-tolerant low-voltage motors (up to 400 W) with high torque and large field weakening range
  • Research and development of a new sensor technology
  • Integration of the modules into a linear actuator with subsequent validation

Hardware integrated Motion Controller and Battery Management for high efficiency motor operation

The sub-project HIMB of the research project MIMIC (Miniaturised Integrated Motion Controller) focuses on the development of a highly efficient drive module (Miniaturised Integrated Motion Controller: Mimic) for permanently excited synchronous machines with integrated energy storage and inverter for use in industry, medical, process and marine technology.

Functions of the drive module:  

  • Energy storage  
  • Converter    
  • Logic      
  • Communication with digitalised production systems

Active exoskeleton of the lower extremities  
The research project focuses on full support of the lower extremities for rehabilitation in case of accidents, muscle diseases or partial paralysis. As a medical device, high safety and validated performance are required. A robust control system based on biomechanical sensor data is used to regulate the support.

This system is designed to:

  • Provide safe support in power and speed with minimal weight
  • Enable adaptive control with cloud-based data processing
  • Provide faster and more personalised rehabilitation mobile health functions

In the MagNetz section of the research project, SmartPro works with the Centre for Reliable Mechatronic Systems and the qualification of electric drives, die modified with advanced magnetic materials. The focus is on the efficiency and the thermal and magnetic behaviour of the machines. Therefore, test benches for drives of different performance levels are designed and realised. Since die test benches are used as high-precision measuring instruments, a special focus is on the validation of measurements.

The test benches are used in:

  • 4 quadrant load simulations (e.g. pumps, valves, fans)
  • Determination of thermal contact resistance
  • Verification of different commutation processes (sine-triangle, SVM, flat-top) by rapid prototyping environment
  • Prognosis of the system lifetime


Smart Available Maritime Battery

The research project focuses on the development of an innovative, modular and scalable energy supply used by consumers of underwater technologies. The underwater energy supply enables the operation of different costumers at one existing supply network because the costumers are getting supplied by the energy supply. The supply network then only is needed to recharge the energy supply. This shall be achieved for a life cycle of 25 years.

ISSA (Intelligent Safe Subsea Actuation)