The Exosleeve: A Soft Robotic Exoskeleton for Assisting in Activities of Daily Living
The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body due to its extensive range of motion. Exoskeletons must accommodate the shoulder’s capabilities in order to be effective. Soft robotic actuators have found their way into upper limb exoskeletons; however, current designs do not provide a mechanism for adjusting the structure of the exoskeleton in order to tailor-fit it onto the user. We have created a modular, pneumatic, soft robotic exoskeleton that is capable of mechanical and structural reconfiguration: the Exosleeve. Reconfiguration provides the potential to ensure that the device correctly matches the user’s requirements. The ability of the Exosleeve to provide assistance in performing limb motion was preliminarily assessed through a pilot test of three healthy subjects. Subjects were instructed to perform shoulder abduction exercises while surface electromyography measured muscle activation under various conditions. The test showed that utilization of the Exosleeve reduces muscle activation.
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