Design and embedded control of a soft elbow exosuit
- Post by: System
- 27 November 2019
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© 2018 IEEE. The use of soft materials to transmit power to the human body has numerous advantages, amongst which safety and kinematic transparency stand out. In previous work we showed that a tethered fabric-based exosuit for the elbow joint, driven by an electric motor through a Bowden cable transmission, reduces the muscular effort associated with flexion movements by working in parallel with its wearer’s muscles. We herein propose a refined design of the suit and present an untethered control architecture for gravity compensation and motion-intention detection. The architecture comprises four interconnected modules for power management, low-level motor control and high-level signal processing and data streaming. The controller uses a silicone stretch sensor and a miniature load cell, integrated in the fabric frame, to estimate and minimise the torque that its user needs to exert to perform a movement. We show that the device relieves its wearer from an average of 77% of the total moment required to sustain and move a light weight, with a consequent average reduction in muscular effort of 64.5%.