Model-based design and optimization of passive shoulder exoskeletons

TitleModel-based design and optimization of passive shoulder exoskeletons
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsNasr, A., S. Ferguson, and J. McPhee
Conference NameASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
KeywordsExoskeletons, Multibody System Dynamics, Optimization, Wearable Robotics

To physically assist workers in reducing musculoskeletal strain or to develop motor skills for patients with neuromuscular disabilities, recent research has focused on Exoskeletons (Exos). Designing active Exos is challenging due to the complex human geometric structure, the human-Exoskeleton wrench interaction, the kinematic constraints, and the selection of power source characteristics. Because of the portable advantages of passive Exos, designing a passive shoulder mechanism has been studied here. The study concentrates on modeling a 3D multibody upper-limb human-Exoskeleton, developing a procedure of analyzing optimal assistive torque profiles, and optimizing the passive mechanism features for desired tasks. The optimization objective is minimizing the human joint torques. For simulating the complex closed-loop multibody dynamics, differential-algebraic equations (DAE)s of motion have been generated and solved. Three different tasks have been considered, which are common in industrial environments: object manipulation, over-head work, and static pointing. The resulting assistive Exoskeleton’s elevation joint torque profile could decrease the specific task’s human shoulder torque. Since the passive mechanism produces a specific torque for a given elevation angle, the Exoskeleton is not versatile or optimal for different dynamic tasks. We concluded that designing a passive Exoskeleton for a wide range of dynamic applications is impossible. We hypothesize that augmenting an actuator to the mechanism can provide the necessary adjustment torque and versatility for multiple tasks.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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