Posts Tagged Exosuit
Although it’s a far cry from the exosuits of science fiction, researchers have developed a robotic exoskeleton that can help stroke victims regain use of their legs. Nine out of 10 stroke patients are afflicted with partial paralysis, leaving some with an abnormal gait. The exosuit works by pulling cords attached to a shoe insole, providing torque to the ankle and correcting the abnormal walking motion. With the suit providing assistance to their joints, the stroke victims are able to maintain their balance, and walk similarly to the way they had prior to their paralysis, the team reports today in Science Translational Medicine. The exosuit is an adaptation of a previous design developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Warrior Web program, a Department of Defense plan to develop assistive exosuits for military applications. Although similar mechanical devices have been built in the past to assist in gait therapy, these were bulky and had to be kept tethered to a power source. This new suit is light enough that with a decent battery, it could be used to help patients walk over terrain as well, not just on a treadmill. The researchers say that although the technology needs long-term testing, it could start to decrease the time it takes for stroke patients to recover in the near future.
A study published recently in Science Translational Medicine suggests that the use of a soft suit exoskeleton system helps aid in the facilitation of walking ability among ambulatory patients following a stroke.
Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University’s (BU) College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College developed the lightweight, soft, wearable ankle-assisting exosuit, and they they suggest in the study that it could help reinforce normal gait in people with hemiparesis after stroke.
The study centers on the use of the exosuit among nine participants, each of whom recently experienced a stroke, and examines the immediate improvements in walking capability that could be obtained when wearing the suit, dubbed the Restore system, according to a media release from ReWalk Robotics Ltd.
According to the release, the study concludes that improvements in paretic limb function contributed to a 20 +/- 4% reduction in forward propulsion interlimb asymmetry and a 10 +/- 3% reduction in the energy cost of walking, which is equivalent to a 32+/- 9% reduction in the metabolic burden associated with poststroke walking. Relatively low assistance (~12% of biological torques) delivered with a lightweight and nonrestrictive exosuit was sufficient to facilitate more normal walking in ambulatory individuals after stroke.
“This foundational study shows that soft wearable robots can have significant positive impact on gait functions in patients post-stroke, and it is the result of a translational-focused multidisciplinary team of engineers, designers, biomechanists, physical therapists, and most importantly patients who volunteered for this study and gave valuable feedback that guided our research,” says Wyss Core Faculty member Conor Walsh, who is also the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and the Founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, in the release.
ReWalk is working with the Wyss Institute on the development of lightweight designs to complete clinical studies, pursue regulatory approvals, and commercialize the systems on a global scale. The first commercial application will be for stroke survivors, followed by Multiple Sclerosis patients and then additional applications.
“Exoskeletons are now a commercially available, disruptive technology that have changed the lives of many individuals in the paraplegic community,” states ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski, in the release. “The ongoing research at the Wyss Institute on soft exosuits adds a new dimension to exoskeletons that can potentially meet the needs of individuals that have had a stroke, as well as for those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or people who have limitations in walking.”
[Source(s): ReWalk Robotics Ltd, PR Newswire, Science Daily]
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering announces a collaboration with ReWalk Robotics Ltd to develop an assistive exosuit for use by stroke and multiple sclerosis patients.
The exosuit in development at Wyss Institute, located at Harvard University, differs from the ReWalk exoskeleton and others for spinal cord injury patients in that, rather than being rigid and used to provide structural support and large assistance for patients with extremely severe movement disabilities, it is lightweight, nonrestrictive, made from soft and wearable materials, and built for those who could move partially on their own, per a media release from Wyss Institute.
The soft exosuit transmits power to key joints of the legs via cable technologies powered with software and mechanics that are similar to the technologies used in the ReWalk system. The cables are connected to fabric-based designs that attach to the legs and foot, explains a media release from ReWalk Robotics.
Initial pilot studies with stroke patients conducted at Wyss Institute, in collaboration with faculty and researchers from Boston University, demonstrate the function of the softsuit exoskeleton technology.
ReWalk’s collaboration with the Wyss Institute will entail the continued development of lightweight designs to complete clinical studies, the pursuit of regulatory approvals, and the commercialization the soft exosuit on a global scale. The first commercial application is expected to be with stroke patients, then with multiple sclerosis patients, and then additional applications, the ReWalk release continues.
“This is a very exciting day for the soft exosuit technology,” said Conor Walsh, PhD, a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute, in the ReWalk release.
“ReWalk brings commercialization expertise and experience in the area of wearable robotics and complements our translation-focused research. Ultimately this agreement paves the way for this technology to make its way to patients,” adds Walsh, also the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab.
“There is a great need in the health care system for lightweight, lower-cost wearable exoskeleton designs to support stroke patients, individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and senior citizens who require mechanical mobility assistance. This collaboration will help create the next generation of exoskeleton systems, making life-changing technology available to millions of consumers across a host of patient populations,” states Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk, per the ReWalk Release.
[Source(s): Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, ReWalk Robotics Ltd, PR Newswire]
[ARTICLE] Exo-Glove: A Soft Wearable Robot for the Hand with a Soft Tendon Routing System – Full Text PDF
…This article describes a soft wearable hand robot called the Exo-Glove that uses a soft tendon routing system and an underactuation adaptive mechanism. The proposed system can be used to develop other types of soft wearable robots. The glove part of the system is compact and weighs 194 g.
Results conducted using a healthy subject showed sufficient performance for the execution of daily life activities, namely, a pinch force of 20 N, a wrap grasp force of 40 N, and a maximum grasped object size of 76 mm. Use of an underactuation mechanism enabled the grasping of objects of various shapes without active control.
A subject suffering from paralysis of the hands due to spinal cord injury was able to use the glove to grasp objects of various shapes…