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Article
Publication date: 29 October 2021

Abhilash C.R., Sriraksha Murali, M. Abdul Haq, Tanay N. Bysani and N.S. Narahari

In certain industrial operations, workers are required to stand for a prolonged duration. This leads to muscular fatigue in the legs, posing a threat to the productivity…

Abstract

Purpose

In certain industrial operations, workers are required to stand for a prolonged duration. This leads to muscular fatigue in the legs, posing a threat to the productivity and well-being of the workers. This paper aims to address this problem of women in the clothing industry with an exoskeleton designed for lower extremities and improve productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

Ulrich’s product design approach has been followed with suitable modifications. The methodology involves a study to justify the need for this product and terminating at the physical and virtual evaluations of the product. Required anthropometric parameters are considered along the design process.

Findings

The exoskeleton discussed in this paper is an innovative product made of Aluminium 6061 alloy. During the simulation phase of the product, total von-mises stresses to a part bearing 1 leg were 31.5 MPa, 94.7 MPa and 284 MPa for aluminium, SS308 and springs, respectively. These values are below the yield limit by a great margin. Based on a user survey of this product, 72% of the targeted customers were interested in buying. Also, comparing electromyography (EMG) mean value of the voltage between workers’ leg with and without exoskeleton revealed that there was an improvement in the voltage by 2.5% when exoskeleton was used.

Originality/value

This paper emphasizes, for the first time – the necessity of an exoskeleton indigenized for the Indian population and the process of realizing it by designing an exoskeleton.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 25 August 2021

Qiang Cao, Jianfeng Li and Mingjie Dong

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate three categories of four-degrees of freedom (4-DOFs) upper limb rehabilitation exoskeleton mechanisms from the perspective of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate three categories of four-degrees of freedom (4-DOFs) upper limb rehabilitation exoskeleton mechanisms from the perspective of relative movement offsets between the upper limb and the exoskeleton, so as to provide reference for the selection of exoskeleton mechanism configurations.

Design/methodology/approach

According to the configuration synthesis and optimum principles of 4-DOFs upper limb exoskeleton mechanisms, three categories of exoskeletons compatible with upper limb were proposed. From the perspective of human exoskeleton closed chain, through reasonable decomposition and kinematic characteristics analysis of passive connective joints, the kinematic equations of three categories exoskeletons were established and inverse position solution method were addressed. Subsequently, three indexes, which can represent the relative movement offsets of human–exoskeleton were defined.

Findings

Based on the presented position solution and evaluation indexes, the joint displacements and relative movement offsets of the three exoskeletons during eating movement were compared, on which the kinematic characteristics were investigated. The results indicated that the second category of exoskeleton was more suitable for upper limb rehabilitation than the other two categories.

Originality/value

This paper has a certain reference value for the selection of the 4-DOFs upper extremity rehabilitation exoskeleton mechanism configurations. The selected exoskeleton can ensure the safety and comfort of stroke patients with upper limb dyskinesia during rehabilitation training.

Details

Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2021

Joanne Pransky

The following paper is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal…

Abstract

Purpose

The following paper is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experience of a prominent, robotic industry PhD-turned innovator and entrepreneur regarding his pioneering efforts. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The interviewee is Dr Homayoon Kazerooni, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, pioneer and leading entrepreneur of robotic exoskeletons. He is a foremost expert in robotics, control sciences, exoskeletons, bioengineering and mechatronics design. Kazerooni shares in this interview details on his second start-up, US Bionics DBA suitX.

Findings

Kazerooni received his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been a Professor at UC Berkeley for over 30 years. He also serves as the Director of the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory “KAZ LAB.” The lab’s early research focused on enhancing human upper extremity strength, and Kazerooni led his team to successfully develop a new class of intelligent assist devices that are currently marketed worldwide and used by manual laborers in distribution centers and factories worldwide. Dr Kazerooni’s later work focused on the control of human–machine systems specific to human lower extremities. After developing BLEEX, ExoHiker and ExoClimber – three load-carrying exoskeletons – his team at Berkeley created Human Universal Load Carrier. It was the first energetically autonomous, orthotic, lower extremity exoskeleton that allowed its user to carry 100-pound weights in various terrains for an extended period, without becoming physically overwhelmed. The technology was initially licensed to Ekso Bionics and then Lockheed Martin. Kazerooni and his team also developed lower-extremity technology to aid persons who have experienced a stroke, spinal cord injuries or have health conditions that obligate them to use a wheelchair.

Originality/value

In 2005, Kazerooni founded Ekso Bionics, the very first exoskeleton company in America, which went on to become a publicly owned company in 2014. Ekso, currently marketed by Ekso Bionics, was designed jointly between Ekso Bionics and Berkeley for paraplegics and those with mobility disorders to stand and walk with little physical exertion. In 2011, Austin Whitney, a Berkeley student suffering from lower limb paralysis, walked for commencement in one of Kazerooni’s exoskeletons, “The Austin Exoskeleton Project,” named in honor of Whitney. Kazerooni went on in 2011, to found US Bionics, DBA suitX, a venture capital, industry and government-funded robotics exoskeleton company. suitX’s core technology is focused on the design and manufacturing of affordable industrial and medical exoskeletons to improve the lives of workers and people with gait impairment. suitX has received investment from Wistron (Taiwan), been awarded several US government awards and won two Saint-Gobain NOVA Innovation Awards. suitX has also won the US$1m top prize in the “UAE AI and Robotics for Good” Competition. Its novel health-care exoskeleton Phoenix has recently received FDA approval. Kazerooni has won numerous awards including Discover magazine’s Technological Innovation Award, the McKnight-Land Grant Professorship and has been a recipient of the outstanding ASME Investigator Award. His research was recognized as the most innovative technology of the year in New York Times Magazine. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in the mechanical engineering community and served as editor of two journals: ASME Journal of Dynamics Systems and Control and IEEE Transaction on Mechatronics. Kazerooni has published more than 200 articles to date, delivered over 130 plenary lectures internationally and is the inventors of over 100 patents.

Details

Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2021

Jiaqi Zhang, Ming Cong, Dong Liu, Yu Du and Hongjiang Ma

The purpose of this paper is to use a simple method to enhance the ability of lower limb exoskeletons to restore balance under large interference conditions and to solve…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use a simple method to enhance the ability of lower limb exoskeletons to restore balance under large interference conditions and to solve the problem that biped robot stability criterion cannot be fully applied to the underactuated lower limb exoskeletons.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used in this paper is to construct an underactuated lower extremity exoskeleton ankle joint with a torsion spring. Based on the constructed exoskeleton, the linear inverted torsion spring pendulum model is proposed, and the traditional capture point (CP) concept is optimized.

Findings

The underactuated exoskeleton ankle joint with torsion springs, combined with the improved CP concept, can effectively reduce the forward stepping distance under the same interference condition, which is equivalent to enhancing the balance ability of the lower extremity exoskeleton.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper is to enhance the balance ability of the exoskeleton of the lower limbs under large interference conditions. The torsion spring is used as the exoskeleton ankle joint, and the traditional CP concept is optimized according to the constructed exoskeleton.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2021

Fashu Xu, Rui Huang, Hong Cheng, Min Fan and Jing Qiu

This paper aims at the problem of attaching the data of doctors, patients and the real-time sensor data of the exoskeleton to the cloud in intelligent rehabilitation…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims at the problem of attaching the data of doctors, patients and the real-time sensor data of the exoskeleton to the cloud in intelligent rehabilitation applications. This study designed the exoskeleton cloud-brain platform and validated its safety assessment.

Design/methodology/approach

According to the dimension of data and the transmission speed, this paper implements a three-layer cloud-brain platform of exoskeleton based on Alibaba Cloud's Lambda-like architecture. At the same time, given the human–machine safety status detection problem of the exoskeleton, this paper built a personalized machine-learning safety detection module for users with the multi-dimensional sensor data cloned by the cloud-brain platform. This module includes an abnormality detection model, prediction model and state classification model of the human–machine state.

Findings

These functions of the exoskeleton cloud-brain and the algorithms based on it were validated by the experiments, they meet the needs of use.

Originality/value

This thesis innovatively proposes a cloud-brain platform for exoskeletons, beginning the digitalization and intelligence of the exoskeletal rehabilitation process and laying the foundation for future intelligent assistance systems.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Omobolanle Ogunseiju, Johnson Olayiwola, Abiola Akanmu and Oluwole Alfred Olatunji

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders constitute a severe problem in the construction industry. Workers' lower backs are often affected by heavy or repetitive lifting and…

Abstract

Purpose

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders constitute a severe problem in the construction industry. Workers' lower backs are often affected by heavy or repetitive lifting and prolonged awkward postures. Exoskeletal interventions are effective for tasks involving manual lifting and repetitive movements. This study aims to examine the potential of a postural-assist exoskeleton (a passive exoskeleton) for manual material handling tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

From an experimental observation of participants, the effects of postural-assist exoskeleton on tasks and workers were measured. Associated benefits of the exoskeleton were assessed through task performance, range of motion and discomfort.

Findings

Findings suggest that the exoskeleton influenced discomfort significantly, however range of motion decreased with lifting tasks. The reduced back flexion and increased hip flexion were also indicatives of the participants' responsiveness to the feedback from the exoskeleton. In addition, task completion time increased by 20%, and participants' back pain did not reduce.

Research limitations/implications

The work tasks were performed in a controlled laboratory environment and only wearable inertia measurement units (IMUs) were used to assess the risk exposures of the body parts.

Practical implications

This study opens a practical pathway to human-exoskeleton integration, artificial regeneration or enablement of impaired workforce and a window toward a new order of productivity scaling. Results from this study provide preliminary insights to designers and innovators on the influence of postural assist exoskeleton on construction work. Project stakeholders can be informed of the suitability of the postural assist exoskeletons for manual material handling tasks.

Originality/value

Little has been reported on the benefits and impact of exoskeletons on tasks' physical demands and construction workers' performance. This study adds value to the existing literature, in particular by providing insights into the effectiveness and consequences of the postural-assist exoskeleton for manual material handling tasks.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2013

Riaan Stopforth

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mechanical, kinematic and biological aspects that would be required for a customized upper limb exoskeleton prototype operation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mechanical, kinematic and biological aspects that would be required for a customized upper limb exoskeleton prototype operation.

Design/methodology/approach

The research contained a literature survey, design, simulation, development and testing of an exoskeleton arm.

Findings

An adjustable/customizable exoskeleton arm was developed with a kinematic model to allow the desired motion. Tests were performed to determine the feasibility of the system.

Originality/value

The paper shows how the authors researched, designed and developed an exoskeleton arm that had similar mechanical properties to those of a biological arm. The exoskeleton must allow customization and be adaptable to the operator, without the need for major alterations.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2018

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide details of the emerging families of robotic exoskeletons that are aimed at industrial applications.

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1119

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide details of the emerging families of robotic exoskeletons that are aimed at industrial applications.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an introduction, this paper considers the reasons for, and benefits of, using robotic exoskeletons in industrial applications. The paper then discusses a range of products and developments and their applications. Finally, brief concluding comments are drawn.

Findings

Following earlier military and medical developments, recent years have seen a huge upsurge in interest in industrial robotic exoskeletons. A new generation of products are under development in the USA, the Europe and the Far East by a growing number of companies, and some have entered production. The aim of developing industrial robotic exoskeletons is to assist workers in physically demanding tasks and, thus, reduce the incidence of industrial injuries and associated financial consequences. Several applications have been reported, most notably in the Far East, across a diverse range of industries.

Originality/value

New families of robotic exoskeletons are being developed, and these are poised to exert a major impact on many industries and constitute a significant market opportunity. This paper provides a timely insight into these developments.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2013

Arief P. Tjahyono, Kean C. Aw, Harish Devaraj, Wisnu Surendra, Enrico Haemmerle and Jadranka Travas‐Sejdic

The purpose of this paper is to review the challenges present in the development of hand exoskeletons powered by pneumatic artificial muscles. This paper also presents the…

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1044

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the challenges present in the development of hand exoskeletons powered by pneumatic artificial muscles. This paper also presents the development of a novel strain sensor and its application in a five‐fingered hand exoskeleton.

Design/methodology/approach

The issues of current hand exoskeletons powered by pneumatic artificial muscles are examined by studying the artificial muscles and the human hand anatomy. Traditional sensors are no longer suitable for applications in hand exoskeletons. A novel strain sensor was developed by depositing a conducting polymer called polypyrrole onto a natural rubber substrate through vapor phase polymerization and is used in the authors' five‐fingered hand exoskeleton.

Findings

The error of measurements from the polypyrrole strain sensor in controlling the actuation of pneumatic artificial muscles is within 1.5 mm. The small physical size and weight of the novel polypyrrole strain sensor also helped to keep the exoskeleton's profile (less than 20 mm) and total weight low (<1 kg).

Originality/value

The novel strain sensor allows the realization of hand exoskeletons that are lightweight, portable and low profile. This improves the comfort and practicality of hand exoskeletons to allow their usage outside the research environment.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Stephen Fox, Olli Aranko, Juhani Heilala and Päivi Vahala

Exoskeletons are mechanical structures that humans can wear to increase their strength and endurance. The purpose of this paper is to explain how exoskeletons can be used…

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7915

Abstract

Purpose

Exoskeletons are mechanical structures that humans can wear to increase their strength and endurance. The purpose of this paper is to explain how exoskeletons can be used to improve performance across five phases of manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

Multivocal literature review, encompassing scientific literature and the grey literature of online reports, etc., to inform comprehensive, comparative and critical analyses of the potential of exoskeletons to improve manufacturing performance.

Findings

There are at least eight different types of exoskeletons that can be used to improve human strength and endurance in manual work during different phases of production. However, exoskeletons can have the unintended negative consequence of reducing human flexibility leading to new sources of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and accidents.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are relevant to function allocation research concerned with manual production work. In particular, exoskeletons could exacerbate the traditional trade-off between human flexibility and robot consistency by making human workers less flexible.

Practical implications

The introduction of exoskeletons requires careful health and safety planning if exoskeletons are to improve human strength and endurance without introducing new sources of MSD and accidents.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper is that it provides detailed information about a new manufacturing technology: exoskeletons. The value of this paper is that it provides information that is comprehensive, comparative and critical about exoskeletons as a potential alternative to robotics across five phases of manufacturing.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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