Scientists have created a system that helps the robotic exosuit adapt for different purposes and taking into account many factors in seconds.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. John A. Paulson developed a new approach in which the assistance of a robotic exosuit can be adapted to individual characteristics of a person and real-life walking tasks.
People rarely walk at a constant speed and one incline. We move at different speeds in the city during rush hour, on a walk in the park and always on a changing surface. Height, age, and muscle strength, and sometimes nerve or muscle disorders, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, also affect walking.
The variability of factors and tasks is a serious problem in the development of smart exosuits that should help a person get around in real conditions. Today, setting up a wearable robot assistant for human walking requires hours of manual or automated work. This is tiring for healthy people and simply impossible for older patients.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. John A. Paulson (SEAS) developed a new approach in which a robotic exosuit can be adapted to different real-life walking tasks for a specific person in a matter of seconds. The new bioinspired system uses ultrasound measurements of muscle dynamics to develop a personalized, activity-focused care profile.
“Our approach allows for the relatively quick creation of personalized care profiles that actually benefit the person while walking,” explains Robert D. Howe, professor of engineering and co-author of the article.
Conventional systems and exosuits are not capable of this. This is familiar to us, but when a person walks, he analyzes many factors and makes a decision about each new step in a split second, sending commands to the muscles and the whole body.
In the study, the researchers used ultrasound to directly measure what a person’s muscles are doing when performing different tasks – when walking at different inclines or speeds. The findings were used to create a smart exosuit system. The results of the work are published by the journal Science Robotics.