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Exo3


SPHERICAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS

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Exo3


SPHERICAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS


With respect to active exoskeleton applications, an estimated 20,639,200 (7.1%) of non-institutionalized United States residents suffered from an ambulatory disability in 2013, while an approximated 2,512,800 (7.2%) of Canadians reported mobility disablements in 2012. These disabilities cost an estimated annual equivalent of $375 billion in family caregiver support, in addition to significant economic and social burdens to the patient and the healthcare system.

One emergent technology that aims to diminish this health problem and improve the quality of life for sufferers is the lower-body exoskeleton: wearable robotic systems that completely or partially support their user’s weight and provide controlled guidance of leg movements, thereby allowing their user to stand and walk. This solution provides benefits over wheelchair use and other traditional means because it can also help reduce secondary complications of immobility such as pneumonia, blood clots, pressure sores, and lowered self-esteem. However, one major shortcoming of current exoskeleton technologies is a limited range of motion about the hip and ankle joints, which are both capable of three rotational degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) in the human body. In general, current technologies actively guide one degree-of-freedom hip-centered movements with absent or only passive compliance for one or both of the other DOFs. This design scheme generally results in a serial joint structure within the exoskeleton device, which has an inherently lower payload-to-weight ratio than a parallel structure counterpart. Therefore, this characteristic leads to bulkier than necessary devices.

A motion transfer and target interfacing system that is mechanically capable of providing decoupled or combined 3-DOF rotational motion or inaction to a passive target system is designed. The target system may be any structure containing a 3-DOF rotational joint (e.g. ball-and-socket joint) or a quasi-3-DOF rotational joint (e.g. hip joint). The motion-generation system conveys mechanical action to the target system via a motion transfer and target interfacing system, which physically supports the target system in some extent and converts action from the motion-generation system to desired movements of the target system about its true or quasi 3-DOF rotational joint. The system further comprises motion-generation controller system and motion detection and feedback system. The motion-generation controller system can comprise at least one of an Electromyography (EMG), Electroencephalography (EEG), Joystick, Microcontroller, Actuator driver unit, Power supply unit, Predefined signal, etc.

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Exo2


SPHERICAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS

Exo2


SPHERICAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS


With respect to exoskeleton applications and in general, one major shortcoming associated with robotic orientation guidance mechanisms for spherical joints is their lack of complete and active kinematic compliance with the targeted joint. In terms of hip exoskeleton applications, this limitation restricts the range of hip-joint motions for which mechanism offers guidance to an orientation space less extensive than normal human capabilities. Based on current literature in the field of wearable robotics and exoskeletons, the majority of exoskeletons associated with ball-and-socket joints do not provide compliance with all three DOFs; furthermore, those designs that support 3-DOF motions do  not provide active guidance to each of them. A further symptom of reducing the DOF capability of an exoskeleton is the serial design of active joint connections. Consequentially, most present-day exoskeletons are composed of kinematic open chains: single-DOF rotary or prismatic joints serially-connected by structural linkages. However, researchers have conclude that closed-chain designs, characterized by at least two active joints connected in parallel with each other, have superior performance than their serial manipulator counterparts in terms of positioning accuracy, speed, force application, and payload-to-weight ratio. In order to overcome these shortcomings, we propose a robotic mechanism that combines a spherical parallel manipulator, providing 3-DOF rotational motion generation about one point in space, and a passive mechanism that non-intrusively transmits the spherical motion to a target ball-and-socket joint located at another point in space. Specifically, the device focuses on hip exoskeleton application and employs the Agile Eye.

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Exo1


SPATIAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS

Exo1


SPATIAL EXOSKELETON SYSTEMS


An exoskeleton is a wearable robotic device intended to augment the abilities of the human body segment to which is attached. Common motivations for exoskeleton use are energy conservation for limbs that are otherwise functional or strength augmentation for limbs that have weakened or complete loss of functionality. One significant challenge associated with either of these goals arises when the targeted limb contains a joint with multiple active degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) that must be supported by an external robotic structure.
One candidate robot that may be used to overcome this challenge is the 6-UPS parallel manipulator, which is also commonly referred to as the Stewart-Gough platform. This manipulator has been extensively analyzed and proposed for use in a number of different technology applications.