A Soft-Exosuit Enables Multi-Scale Analysis of Wearable Robotics in a Bipedal Animal Model

S. M. Cox, Jonas Rubenson, Gregory S. Sawicki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wearable robotics offers a unique opportunity to explore how biological systems interface with engineered parts. But, due to a gap in understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms at work, the state of the art in design and development is a sophisticated form of automated trial and error. Progress is hampered by the difficulty of assessing the direct impact of wearable robots on underlying muscles, tendons and bones during human experimentation. While animal models have provided an experimental platform to explore other biological mechanisms, as of yet, no animal model of a wearable robot during locomotion has been developed. To fill this gap, we have built the first ever wearable robotic device for a freely-Iocomoting, non-human, bipedal animal (Numida melaegris = Guinea fowl), a species whose gait closely mirrors human locomotion mechanics. We found that a spring-loaded soft-exosuit that passively augments the energy stored in distal tendons was both well tolerated and provided consistent torques. Preliminary data showed birds systematically change their kinematics in response to changes to exo-suit spring stiffness, adjusting the timing but not magnitude of the assistive torques. This animal model for wearable robotics allows experiments up and down the broader spatiotemporal scale that are not currently possible in humans. With it we can address questions from short-term adaptations in musculoskeletal dynamics within a single step to broader behavioral and physical changes that come with long term use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages4685-4691
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538680940
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 27 2018
Event2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2018 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: Oct 1 2018Oct 5 2018

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866

Conference

Conference2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2018
CountrySpain
CityMadrid
Period10/1/1810/5/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications

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    Cox, S. M., Rubenson, J., & Sawicki, G. S. (2018). A Soft-Exosuit Enables Multi-Scale Analysis of Wearable Robotics in a Bipedal Animal Model. In 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2018 (pp. 4685-4691). [8593911] (IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS.2018.8593911