In recent decades, many researchers have focused on the design and development of exoskeletons. Several strategies have been proposed to develop increasingly more efficient and biomimetic mechanisms. However, existing exoskeletons tend to be expensive and only available for a few people. This paper introduces a new gravity-balanced upper-limb exoskeleton suited for rehabilitation applications and designed with the main objective of reducing the cost of the components and materials. Regarding mechanics, the proposed design significantly reduces the motor torque requirements, because a high cost is usually associated with high-torque actuation. Regarding the electronics, we aim to exploit the microprocessor peripherals to obtain parallel and real-time execution of communication and control tasks without relying on expensive RTOSs. Regarding sensing, we avoid the use of expensive force sensors. Advanced control and rehabilitation features are implemented, and an intuitive user interface is developed. To experimentally validate the functionality of the proposed exoskeleton, a rehabilitation exercise in the form of a pick-and-place task is considered. Experimentally, peak torques are reduced by 89% for the shoulder and by 84% for the elbow.

An Affordable Upper-Limb Exoskeleton Concept for Rehabilitation Applications

Luca Luzi;Eldison Dimo;Andrea Calanca
2022-01-01

Abstract

In recent decades, many researchers have focused on the design and development of exoskeletons. Several strategies have been proposed to develop increasingly more efficient and biomimetic mechanisms. However, existing exoskeletons tend to be expensive and only available for a few people. This paper introduces a new gravity-balanced upper-limb exoskeleton suited for rehabilitation applications and designed with the main objective of reducing the cost of the components and materials. Regarding mechanics, the proposed design significantly reduces the motor torque requirements, because a high cost is usually associated with high-torque actuation. Regarding the electronics, we aim to exploit the microprocessor peripherals to obtain parallel and real-time execution of communication and control tasks without relying on expensive RTOSs. Regarding sensing, we avoid the use of expensive force sensors. Advanced control and rehabilitation features are implemented, and an intuitive user interface is developed. To experimentally validate the functionality of the proposed exoskeleton, a rehabilitation exercise in the form of a pick-and-place task is considered. Experimentally, peak torques are reduced by 89% for the shoulder and by 84% for the elbow.
2022
exoskeleton
affordability
affordable robotics
rehabilitation robotics
3D printing
mechanical design
low cost
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1092107
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