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Control of the seven-degree-of-freedom upper limb exoskeleton for an improved human-robot interface

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This study analyzes a practical scheme for controlling an exoskeleton robot with seven degrees of freedom (DOFs) that supports natural movements of the human arm. A redundant upper limb exoskeleton robot with seven DOFs is mechanically coupled to the human body such that it becomes a natural extension of the body. If the exoskeleton robot follows the movement of the human body synchronously, the energy exchange between the human and the robot will be reduced significantly. In order to achieve this, the redundancy of the human arm, which is represented by the swivel angle, should be resolved using appropriate constraints and applied to the robot. In a redundant 7-DOF upper limb exoskeleton, the pseudoinverse of the Jacobian with secondary objective functions is widely used to resolve the redundancy that defines the desired joint angles. A secondary objective function requires the desired joint angles for the movement of the human arm, and the angles are estimated by maximizing the projection of the longest principle axis of the manipulability ellipsoid for the human arm onto the virtual destination toward the head region. Then, they are fed into the muscle model with a relative damping to achieve more realistic robot-arm movements. Various natural arm movements are recorded using a motion capture system, and the actual swivel-angle is compared to that estimated using the proposed swivel angle estimation algorithm. The results indicate that the proposed algorithm provides a precise reference for estimating the desired joint angle with an error less than 5◦.

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Correspondence to Hyunchul Kim or Jungsuk Kim.

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Kim, H., Kim, J. Control of the seven-degree-of-freedom upper limb exoskeleton for an improved human-robot interface. Journal of the Korean Physical Society 70, 726–734 (2017).

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