Robotic exoskeletons are active devices that assist or counteract the movements of the body limbs in a variety of tasks, including in industrial environments or rehabilitation processes. With the introduction of textile and soft materials in these devices, the effective motion transmission, mechanical support of the limbs, and resistance to physical disturbances are some of the most desirable structural features. This paper proposes an evaluation protocol and assesses the mechanical support properties of a servo-controlled robotic exoskeleton prototype for rehabilitation in upper limbs. Since this prototype was built from soft materials, it is necessary to evaluate the mechanical behavior in the areas that support the arm. Some of the rehabilitation-supporting movements such as elbow flexion and extension, as well as increased muscle tone (spasticity), are emulated. Measurements are taken using the reference supplied to the system’s control stage and then compared with an external high-precision optical tracking system. As a result, it is evidenced that the use of soft materials provides satisfactory outcomes in the motion transfer and support to the limb. In addition, this study lays the groundwork for a future assessment of the prototype in a controlled laboratory environment using human test subjects.

Assessment of the Mechanical Support Characteristics of a Light and Wearable Robotic Exoskeleton Prototype Applied to Upper Limb Rehabilitation

Mazzoleni S.
2022

Abstract

Robotic exoskeletons are active devices that assist or counteract the movements of the body limbs in a variety of tasks, including in industrial environments or rehabilitation processes. With the introduction of textile and soft materials in these devices, the effective motion transmission, mechanical support of the limbs, and resistance to physical disturbances are some of the most desirable structural features. This paper proposes an evaluation protocol and assesses the mechanical support properties of a servo-controlled robotic exoskeleton prototype for rehabilitation in upper limbs. Since this prototype was built from soft materials, it is necessary to evaluate the mechanical behavior in the areas that support the arm. Some of the rehabilitation-supporting movements such as elbow flexion and extension, as well as increased muscle tone (spasticity), are emulated. Measurements are taken using the reference supplied to the system’s control stage and then compared with an external high-precision optical tracking system. As a result, it is evidenced that the use of soft materials provides satisfactory outcomes in the motion transfer and support to the limb. In addition, this study lays the groundwork for a future assessment of the prototype in a controlled laboratory environment using human test subjects.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11589/244920
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