Wearable robotic devices (e.g. lower limb exoskeletons, powered prothesis) have gained extensive interest in the last decades, demonstrating that they can help people with motor impairments to stand and walk again. One of the ongoing challenges in these devices and an often-heard wish of their users is to assist in balance recovery and decrease the reliance on external support (e.g. crutches or canes for exoskeleton users).
Recent research studies are developing balance control strategies in different directions and complexity to improve patients’ stability in both static and dynamic conditions: extending control strategies from humanoids, using bio-inspired approaches (neuromuscular model) and/or implementing simple heuristic methods. However, the research is still limited on how the users’ respond to the provided balance support: Do humans really cooperate with the device? Do control strategies need to be human-like for better cooperation? Which approach results in the best balance recovery, complex/intelligent or simple/predictable?
In this Special Session, we bring together researchers and experts in balance recovery using different wearable devices to support diverse populations (e.g. spinal cord injury, amputees, elderly, stroke). Speakers coming from both academia and industry will provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art in control development for balance support using wearable robotic devices (i.e. exoskeletons, prothesis, gyro backpack). We will provide a better understanding about balance in assisting devices to eventually improve human-robot interaction, detection of loss of balance, and control of balance recovery.
Balance, Control, Exoskeleton, Human-Robot interaction
1. Vito Monaco, Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna Pisa (Italy)
Managing tripping-like perturbations by using an Active-Pelvis Orthosis: a pilot study, Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna Pisa
2. Hartmut Geyer, Carnegie Mellon University (United States of America)
Comparison of balance recovery among current control strategies for robotic leg prostheses, Carnegie Mellon University
3. Daniel Lemus Pérez, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands)
Wearable gyroscopes: A minimalistic approach for balance and gait assistance, Delft University of Technology
4. Cristina Bayón, University of Twente (The Netherlands)
Ankle-exoskeleton control for assisting in balance recovery after unexpected disturbances, University of Twente