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Research Papers

A Pilot Study of a Continuum Shoulder Exoskeleton for Anatomy Adaptive Assistances

[+] Author and Article Information
Kai Xu

RII Lab (Laboratory of Robotics
Innovation and Intervention),
UM-SJTU Joint Institute,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
800 Dongchuan Road,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: k.xu@sjtu.edu.cn

Jiangran Zhao

RII Lab (Laboratory of Robotics
Innovation and Intervention),
UM-SJTU Joint Institute,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
800 Dongchuan Road,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: zjr318@sjtu.edu.cn

Dong Qiu

RII Lab (Laboratory of Robotics
Innovation and Intervention),
UM-SJTU Joint Institute,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
800 Dongchuan Road,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: d.qiu@sjtu.edu.cn

You Wang

RII Lab (Laboratory of Robotics
Innovation and Intervention),
UM-SJTU Joint Institute,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
800 Dongchuan Road,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: youwang@sjtu.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received January 14, 2014; final manuscript received May 19, 2014; published online June 19, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Philippe Wenger.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 6(4), 041011 (Jun 19, 2014) (10 pages) Paper No: JMR-14-1010; doi: 10.1115/1.4027760 History: Received January 14, 2014; Revised May 19, 2014

Many existing exoskeletons have followed a similar design concept that a rigid kinematic chain is actuated to mobilize a human wearer in spite of the intended applications. For performance-augmenting applications where an exoskeleton is usually paired with a specific wearer, the human–machine kinematic compatibility might be well maintained. However, in a clinical setting for rehabilitation where one exoskeleton is often shared by a group of patients, it will be difficult for the therapists to guarantee the on-site adjustments would accurately fit the exoskeleton to each individual patient with his/her unique anatomy. This paper proposes a continuum shoulder exoskeleton design to realize anatomy adaptive assistances (AAAs) for hemiparetic patients in a purely assistive mode where patient's limb motions are passive. The shoulder exoskeleton conforms to distinct human anatomies adaptively due to its intrinsic flexibility but still manages to deliver motion assistances in a consistent way. The design concept and the system descriptions are elaborated, including kinematics, statics, system construction, actuation, experimental validation, backbone shape identification, motion compensation, manikin trials, etc. The results suggest that it is possible to design a continuum exoskeleton to assist different patients with their limb movements, while no mechanical adjustments on the exoskeleton shall be performed.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
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Figures

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Fig. 1

The continuum shoulder exoskeleton: (1) a rigid armguard, (2) an upper arm sleeve, (3) a flexible continuum shoulder brace, (4) a body vest, (5) a set of guiding cannulae, and (6) an actuation unit

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Fig. 2

Design concept of the continuum shoulder exoskeleton: (a) the front view and (b) the side view

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Fig. 3

Nomenclature and coordinates of the continuum brace

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Fig. 4

The central backbone and the projection of secondary backbones in the bending plane

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Fig. 5

A simplified 2D case for the elasticity analysis: (a) the brace under actuation by itself, and (b) and (c) the brace worn on a shoulder joint

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Fig. 6

The continuum brace with the secondary backbone arrangement

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Fig. 7

The actuation unit with a continuum transmission mechanism

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Fig. 8

Experimental setup for the shoulder joint force quantification: (a) the CAD model and (b) the actual setup

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Fig. 9

The shoulder joint forces under movement path P0P1P2P0

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Fig. 10

The shoulder joint forces under movement path P3P4P5P3

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Fig. 11

The shoulder exoskeleton with its actuation unit and controller

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Fig. 12

Shape identification experiments using an optical tracker: (a) the measurement setup and (b) sampled points along three selected backbones (#4, #9, and #12) with the curve fitting results

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Fig. 13

Bending angles of the selected backbones along their length

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Fig. 14

Actual versus desired bending angles of the continuum brace

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Fig. 15

Actual versus desired bending angles of the continuum brace before motion compensation; the arm with (a) a 500 g weight, (b) a 1000 g weight, and (c) a 1500 g weight

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Fig. 16

Actual versus desired bending angles of the continuum brace after the motion compensation

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Fig. 17

Manikin trials for the continuum shoulder exoskeleton

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