Engineering Students from Univ. of Cincinnati Works on Leg Exoskeleton
November 12, 2013 6:33 PM
comment(s) - last by
The TITAN arm gets a leg
Perhaps inspired by the success of their peers at
University of Pennsylvania
accolades and a cash prize from inventor James Dyson
TITAN Arm exoskeleton component
, student engineers at the
University of Cincinnati
(UC) are designing leg exosuit components as part of a senior design project.
The senior design students are getting a boost from UC mechanical engineering master's degree student Gaurav Mukherjee and
Professor Grant Schaffner
. This isn't Professor Schaffner's first body kinematics design; after receiving his Ph.D he worked as a contractor for
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), working at the
Johnson Space Center
(JSC) working on an exercise device called the
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device
(ARED), which essentially reverses the typical role of an exosuit (assisting motion). The ARED resists motion
helping to fight muscle and bone degeneration in zero gravity
The leg suit was one of a number of
proposed project ideas by faculty
Grant Schaffner (left) is a faculty advisor for the project. He co-designed NASA's ARED workout device (click to enlarge).
The exoskeleton's frame is currently finished with a passive knee joint and spring-assisted standing/sitting motions. A webpage from early in the year describes Professor Schaffner's project,
Current efforts are seeking to improve the efficiency of a lower-body assistive exoskeleton system in stand-to-sit and sit-to-stand motions by exploiting the natural energetics of the motion and supplementing, rather than supplanting, the user's efforts. A passive knee-joint exoskeleton has been developed and tested and efforts are underway to add actively controlled actuators. Efforts are also under way to utilize a combination of kinematic measurements, electromyographic signals, and a brain-computer interface to reliably interpret the intent of the user.
By the sound of it, the UC team completed the powered actuators to allow the spring-loaded exoskeleton to offer basic assistance.
UC Computer Science professor
Anca K. Ralescu
and CS master's student Shikha Chaganti are "examining" how the exoskeleton could interpret the user's motion into the action that the user desires. This likely will involve the use of sensors and patient feedback; it is unlikely to feature the
more exotic brain interface methods
control by implanted
The research team has presented a brief animation, to that end, of the exoskeleton as an animated model, based on sensors attached to it:
The team is presenting its current design at the
International Human-Centered Robotics Symposium
, a multi-university robotics-themed conference that will be held on UC's campus this Friday.
The faculty and master's students hope to build a more ambitious exosuit next, with actuators to provide movement assistance ot the hip and ankle joints, in addition to the current knee joint mechanics. The team is also working with the UC College of Nursing to test the suit and get feedback.
Like this exosuit? Check out some of these other pending designs:
Center for Intelligent Mechatronics
/Parker Hannifin Corp.'s (
Argo Medical Technologies Ltd.
ReWalk Rehabilitation Suit
Honda Motor Comp., Ltd. (
robotic walking assistance device
Japanese manufacturer Cyberdyne
Raytheon Comp.'s (
(originally produced by Sarcos Inc. which Raytheon acquired)
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s (
Clearly we're on the verge of some big things when it comes to robotic movement assistance.
Univ. of Cincinnati
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Inside Out?
11/14/2013 6:58:55 PM
I believe there are a few knee and leg endo-prosthetics, however it is completely possible that I am wrong. Please correct me if I am wrong, this is a subject I am interested in.
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