Model-based design and optimization of passive shoulder exoskeletons

TitleModel-based design and optimization of passive shoulder exoskeletons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsNasr, A., S. Ferguson, and J. McPhee
JournalJ. Comput. Nonlinear Dynam.
Date Published03/2022

To physically assist workers in reducing musculoskeletal strain or to develop motor skills for patients with neuromuscular disabilities, recent research has focused on exoskeletons. Designing exoskeletons is challenging due to the complex human geometric structure, the human-exoskeleton wrench interaction, the kinematic constraints, and the selection of power source characteristics. This 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. Differential-algebraic equations (DAEs) of motion have been generated and solved to simulate the complex closed-loop multibody dynamics. 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 decreases the specific task's human shoulder torque in computer simulations. The exoskeleton is not versatile or optimal for different dynamic tasks since the passive mechanism produces a specific torque for a given elevation angle. We concluded that designing a fully passive exoskeleton for a wide range of dynamic applications is impossible.

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