Scientific Technical Review, 2020,Vol.70,No.3,pp.29-34 29
COSATI: 12-01 doi: 10.5937/str2003029L
The advanced iterative learning control algorithm for
Mihailo Lazarević 1)
Nikola Živković 2)
In this paper an advanced iterative learning control algorithm for rehabilitation exoskeletons is proposed. A simplified
biomechanical model is used as the control object to verify contro l al gor ith m fe asi bil ity . Th e control design is proposed as two
level controller consisting of inner and outer loop. In the inner loop the feedback linearization is applied to cancel out the
model nonlinearities. In the outer loop the advanced iterative learning control algorithm of sgnPDD2 type is a ppl ied as a fee d-
forward controller and classical PD controller as a feedback controller. Uncertainties are added in order to examine the
controller design robustness. Numerical simulation is carried out.
Key words: biomechanical model, iterative learning control, feedback linearization, uncertainty.
1) Military Technical Institute (VTI), Ratka Resanovića 1, 11132 Belgrade, SERBIA
2) Lola institute, Kneza Viseslava 70a,11030 Belgrade, SERBIA
Correspondence to: Milailo Lazarević; e-mail: email@example.com
XOSKELETON as a real-time interaction with the
wearer’s intelligent robot, in recent years, becomes a hot
topic mouth class research in the field of robotics. The term
‘exoskeleton’ was used in biology referring to the chitinous or
calcified external skeleton used by numerous animal taxa for
structural support and defense against predators [1, 2].
Wearable exoskeleton outside the body, combined with the
organic body, plays a role in the protection and support. By
wearing an exoskeleton robot, it is possible to expand the
wearer’s athletic ability, increase muscle endurance, and
enable the wearer to complete tasks that one cannot perform
under natural conditions as well as help for recovering of lost
human motor functions. Based on the above advantages, the
exoskeleton robot in military medical care and rehabilitation
has broad application prospects .
In the military field, the exoskeleton is very attractive
because it can effectively improve the individual combat
capability. For example, HULC is an exoskeleton robot that
can greatly increase the soldier’s ability to carry weight,
making it easy for soldiers to carry heavy loads of 90 kg.
Now, the exoskeletons are generally regarded as a
technology that extends, complements, substitutes or
enhances human function and capability or empowers the
human limb where it is worn . Unlike other robots, the
operator of exoskeletons is a human who needs to make
decisions  and perform tasks with exoskeletons.
Stroke survivors are faced with some degree of limb
impairment, depending on the place in brain, structure and
size of caused damage. An increasing number of evidence
suggests that brain of a patient who survived stroke has
increased capacity for plastic change and thus some motor
functions can be fully or partially recovered. Rehabilitative
training plays an important role in recovery of lost motor
functions . In order to enhance a therapy delivered by
therapists, the use of robotics emerged as an aid in the
rehabilitation process . In  and  it is shown that the
robot-aided training, especially in the upper limbs, has
positive effects in patient stroke rehabilitation. Also, it has
been observed that robot-assisted rehabilitation has potential
benefits to patients even several years after the stroke.
Rehabilitative robotics of the upper limbs can be
differentiated into two types – rehabilitative robots with one
point of contact (end-effector robots) and rehabilitative robots
with multiple points of contact (exoskeletons). End-effector
robot supports patients arm in one point of contact, usually
patients hand or forearm. End-effector robot joints movement
does not coincide with the movement of the patients arm.
These drawbacks with the end-effector robots influenced the
research of exoskeleton rehabilitation robots. Exoskeletons
mitigate important flaws of the end-effector robots mentioned
above . Rehabilitation robots can be developed to assist
rehabilitation in individuals with stroke.
Considering the repetitive nature of the patient`s
rehabilitation process, Iterative Learning Control (ILC)
algorithms emerged as suitable for this application. In the last
three decades, (ILC) has been extensively studied. ILC has
become one of the most active research and study topic in the
field of control theory and its applications , , ,
ILC is an intelligent control method for systems that
perform tasks repetitively over a finite time interval. This
method is similar to how humans learn – performing a certain
task and observing the outcome. The next performance of the
same task will be adjusted accordingly to the previously
observed outcome. ILC algorithm constructs current system
input by applying predetermined mathematical law on a
previous system output which was stored in the memory .
Loosely said ILC is using past experience to improve current
system behaviour. Basic ILC principle is illustrated in Fig.1.
30 LAZAREVIĆ,M., etc.: THE ADVANCED ITERATIVE LEARNING CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR REHABILITATION EXOSKELETONS
Figure 1. Basic ILC scheme
As it has been already said, rehabilitation training is a kind
of repetitive training. Patient’s motor function will improve
with an increase in the number of training while the auxiliary
level of robot and electrical stimulation will be reduced. In
ILC the control input is directly updated between trials and it
is this feature that makes it suitable for exoskeleton robots
(i.e. robotic assisted stroke rehabilitation) .
In this paper, an advanced robust open-closed iterative
learning control for exoskeleton rehabilitation robots is
Control object model
In order to validate the proposed control algorithm
feasibility, the control object is mathematically modelled
using the Rodriguez approach. Human upper limb and
supporting exoskeleton are adopted as the control object in
this paper. The existing complex system is simplified to a
biomechanical model consisting of 3DOF robot arm with
truncated cone shaped links (Fig.2).
Structure of this biomechanical model is a sequence of two
rigid bodies – links, interconnected with joints where the first
link has two degrees of freedom and the second link has one
degree of freedom. In order to apply the Rodriguez approach
the first joint is decomposed from 2DOF to two links
interconnected with 1DOF joints. The first link is set to be
fictive, i.e. mass and length of this link is zero. Now, open
chain system of rigid bodies consists of three bodies with
joints between them starting from inertial reference frame
as shown in Figure . The values ,1,2,3
generalized coordinates that define a configuration of the
mechanical model. Each link is associated with local
reference frame C
Figure 2. a)-Simplified model of the exoskeleton-human arm, b) kinematic
scheme after joint decomposition
At initial time reference configuration is set by setting
corresponding axes of reference frames parallel to the
Cartesian inertial reference frame Oxyz . This convention
enables using the Rodriguez approach for obtaining dynamic
equations of motion.
Further, parameters ,1
are defined, which
denote whether a joint is prismatic or cylindrical. The
geometry of the model is defined by the unit vectors i
the position vectors i
expressed in local coordinate
frames iii i
. Origins of these local coordinate frames are
attached to the centre of mass of each link i , .
Dynamic equations of motion for the robot system can be
obtained by applying the Lagrange equations of the second
kind in the covariant form as follows:
aqq qq Q
where the coefficients
are the covariant
coordinates of the basic metric tensor and present the
Christoffel symbols of the first kind. Coefficients of the
metric tensor are defined as,
TT Ω Ω
where quasi-base vectors
kk k i
. The Christoffel
The generalized forces can be presented as:
QQQQ and f
Q denote the generalized
control, gravitational, viscous, spring and friction forces,
Biomechanical model dynamics can be written in compact
q q qq Q q q c qq Q
aq is the inertia matrix,
is matrix that
includes centrifugal and the Coriolis effects,
Q is vector of
gravitational forces and u
Q is vector of generalized control
forces . It is assumed that viscous, spring and friction
forces are equal to zero in our case.
LAZAREVIĆ,M., etc.: THE ADVANCED ITERATIVE LEARNING CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR REHABILITATION EXOSKELETONS 31
The obtained mathematical model is multi-input multi-
output, nonlinear, time-varying system. Control law design in
this case consists of inner and outer control loop. Inner loop is
Feedback linearizing control law and outer loop is Iterative
Learning Control algorithm with classical PD feedback.
Feedback linearization or Computed torque control
algorithm is introduced in order to linearize nonlinear
biomechanical model so the linear control laws can be applied
in the outer loop. This linearization is exact and it differs from
the Jacobian linearization which is linear approximation of
dynamics of given system. Feedback linearization can be
applied in general form , but here the concept of
Computed torque is applied out of the convenience. Given the
equations of motion (7),
qq cqq Q
where input vector u
Q can be chosen as:
Where u is new input vector. A new linear decoupled
system is obtained in form of double integrator:
Now u can be chosen conveniently as the linear control
law which is going to close the outer control loop.
Open-closed loop iterative learning control
After closing the inner loop control algorithm in the outer
loop an open-closed loop ILC algorithm is applied which
consists of feed-forward sgnPDD2 type control law and
feedback PD type control law as represented in the block
Figure 3. Block diagram of an ILC sgnPDD2/PD type control algorithm
Control law can be written as:
sgn K K
et yt yt is trajectory tracking error and
is desired output trajectory. P
loop positive definite diagonal learning matrices. Function
sgn(.) is sign function defined as:
sgn 0, 0
and value k in index denotes the iteration number.
Advantages of the proposed approach in calculating open-
loop ILC law are: the controller needs only addition and
subtraction as well as the controller needs only to store the
values of corresponding variables, thus dramatically reduces
the demanding for storage size.
M and ''
are the functions of ,,
respectively . These sums are defined as:
se se se
et et et
Also, to reduce the computation and storage size for the
proposed method, parameters, '
M and ''
adapted as a simple step functions of previously defined error
sums (13). This is shown in Fig.4.
Figure 4. Step function Mk. Threshold values m1, m2, m3, s1, s2, s3 initially are
chosen arbitrarily and then tuned.
For example if sum k
e has value between 1
S and 2
is designated with value 2
m. Parameters k
are chosen analogously. Step function threshold
values are chosen purely by trial and error and currently no
specific recommendation can be given for the initial selection.
Simulation results and discussion
In this section the numerical simulation in MATLAB is
carried out in order to verify control law error convergence. A
method used to solve ordinary differential equations is the
Runge-Kutta with fixed step. Simplified exoskeleton/ human
arm model with 3DOF is used as a simulation object with
following parameters 10 kg, m
1.4 kg, 1.1 kg, mm
10 m, l
20.369 m, l
30.36 ml wh ere the firs t se gment
is fictive due to 2DOF joint decomposition . Exoskeleton
system is tasked with desired trajectory tracking,
System response is observed over the time interval
. Desired trajectories are given as the fifth order
32 LAZAREVIĆ,M., etc.: THE ADVANCED ITERATIVE LEARNING CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR REHABILITATION EXOSKELETONS
01 2 3 4 5d
, , ;
qT q T qT
Let the error bounds be
max 0.5 10 rade
feedback linearization of the given system left us with a linear
system. In order to verify the control law robustness
additional uncertainties are introduced in the system via η.
Uncertainty of the given biomechanical model can be
represented as a change of mass of the object. With that in
mind inertia matrix, centrifugal matrix and gravity vector can
be written as a sum of nominal and uncertain part .
Equations of motion (7) can be rewritten as:
Applying computed torque we can choose:
Equations now become:
qt q qut ηqq
where u is a new control signal and η is the model
ηqq ΔKqq ΔQ
A new control input u is selected as sgnPDD2/PD type
controller designed in the previous section. Equations of
motion can be represented in state-space form as:
xt xt ut ηqq
, , ,
nn nn nn
nn nn nn
Before applying the proposed ILC algorithm as input u, the
following assumptions will be made:
(i) Desired trajectories
qt are continuously
(ii) Initial conditions for all iterations are
(iii) Influence of changing the masses of links are negligible
aq, so it follows that 1
(iv) System (18) is causal .
Gain matrices for the feedback loop are chosen as
diag 161 01 0
diag 8 5 7
K. Step values k
and their bounds are chosen in the process of
trial and error:
0.03,1 .5 20
0.05, 2 15
0.005, 0.1 0.2
0.005, 0.1 0.5
0.005, 0.25 0.5
0.005, 0.1 0.5
0.005, 0.1 0.5
0.005, 0.25 0.5
It can be seen from figures (Figures 1, 2 and 3) that the
system output reaches desired trajectory. Increasing mass
uncertainties results in slower system output error
The first link (fictive) reaches proposed error bound in 35
iterations for 5% mass uncertainty, in 96 iterations for 10%
mass uncertainty and in 101 iterations for 15% mass
uncertainty. Two other links reach desired trajectory much
faster, within 20 iterations.
Also, it can be concluded that, although the system
response in some cases requires relatively large number of
iterations to reach the desired error bound, the initial
trajectory does not deviate too much from the desired
trajectory. In other words, maximum errors above the
proposed error bound are not drastically greater than
me ntio ned e rro r bou nd f or r eal wor ld a ppl ica tions, in t his case
- patient rehabilitation.
LAZAREVIĆ,M., etc.: THE ADVANCED ITERATIVE LEARNING CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR REHABILITATION EXOSKELETONS 33
Figure 5. Maximum error of the first link per iteration for different
percentages of link mass uncertainties
Figure 6. Maximum error of the second link per iteration for different
percentages of link mass uncertainties
Figure 7. Maximum error of third link per iteration for different percentages
of link mass uncertainties
In this paper sgnPDD2 type of feed-forward iterative
learning controller is investigated. In addition to feed-forward
controller, regular PD feedback controller is present. Control
law behaviour is tested, through simulation, on a linear system
with added bounded uncertainties. A simulation results show
convergence of the systems response and controller ability to
track the reference trajectory. System output in some cases
needs a relatively large number of iterations to reach the
and threshold values in
sgnPDD2 type of ILC algorithm are chosen arbitrarily and
tuned by trial and error, which can be time consuming.
The presented research was supported by the Ministry of
Education, Science and Technological Development of the
Republic of Serbia by contract no. 451-03-9/2021-14/200105
from 05.02.2021 and contract no. 451-03-9/2021-14/200066.
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34 LAZAREVIĆ,M., etc.: THE ADVANCED ITERATIVE LEARNING CONTROL ALGORITHM FOR REHABILITATION EXOSKELETONS
Napredni iterativni algoritam upravljanja učenjem za
U ovom radu predložen je napredni iterativni algoritam kontrole učenja za rehabilitacione egzoskelete. Pojednostavljeni
biomehanički model koristi se kao objekt upravljanja kako bi se proverila izvodljivost algoritma upravljanja. Projektovano
upravljanje je predloženo kao dvostepeni regulator koji se sastoji od unutrašnje i spoljašnje petlje. U unutrašnjoj petlji
primjenjuje se linearizacija kako bi se eliminisala nelinearnost modela. U spoljašnjoj petlji napredni iterativni algoritam
upravljanja učenja tipa sgnPDD2 primjenjuje se kao kontroler u direktnoj grani, a klasični PD kontroler kao kontroler u
povratnoj grani. Dodaju se nesigurnosti kako bi se ispitala robusnost projektovanog kontrolera. Sprovedena je numerička
Ključne reči: biomehanički model, iterativna kontrola učenja, feedback linearizacija, neizvesnost.