Design and Experimental Evaluation of a Semi-Passive Upper-Limb Exoskeleton for Workers with Motorized Tuning of Assistance

Lorenzo Grazi, Emilio Trigili, Giulio Proface, Francesco Giovacchini, Simona Crea, Nicola Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article presents the H-PULSE, a novel semi-passive upper-limb exoskeleton for worker assistance, with motorized tuning of the assistive level. The H-PULSE presents novel design features compared to other passive industrial exoskeletons for the upper limbs, namely joint angle sensors for measuring shoulder flexion/extension and a novel active mechanism for regulating the assistance level. These features could enhance the effectiveness of the system. Along with the presentation of the exoskeleton design, this article reports on the system experimental evaluation with human subjects. The H-PULSE was assessed in prolonged static overhead tasks under different conditions of assistive support. The set of metrics to evaluate the effects of the device included shoulder muscular activity, heart rate, and subjective user feedback. Results show that the exoskeleton can reduce the users' muscular activity and the heart rate. Subjective questionnaires allowed the assessment of perceived exoskeleton effectiveness. In this study, the H-PULSE exoskeleton was found to be potentially effective in reducing the muscular strain while reducing the global fatigue level during prolonged continuous overhead activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9159674
Pages (from-to)2276-2285
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Volume28
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Industry 4.0
  • upper-limb exoskeletons
  • wearable robotics
  • workers assistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering

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