Congratulations to Prof. LIAO Wei-Hsin and his research team (Mr. CHAN Hung Tin Hugo, Mr. LIAO Hongpeng, Mr GAO Fei, and Mr ZHAO Xuan) for receiving the Best Conference Paper award in 2021 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation!
Project: A Back-Support Exoskeleton with a Cable-Driven Series-Parallel Elastic Actuation: Prototype Design and Operational Analysis
The repeated lifting of heavy objects puts significant strain on the spine of the body, leading to the development of lower back pain. A load transportation exoskeleton can reduce this strain by providing a portion of the force needed to raise the body during lifting operations. Conventional powered exoskeletons are rigid in structure, limiting the user’s maneuverability and may transmit misaligned forces to the body, raising comfort and safety concerns. In this project, a Cable-driven Series Parallel Elastic Actuation (CSPEA) system with no rigid link between the exoskeleton and human back is proposed, allowing active support for the body while fully retaining the torso’s degree of freedom. The CSPEA system has two separate actuation elements: passive flexible beams and a motor driven cable series elastic actuation unit. Elastic elements dramatically reduce the stiffness of the exoskeleton, improving the comfort and quality of human-exoskeleton interaction as well as reducing the power demand from the motor. With separate actuation units on the left and right side of the body, asymmetric lifting can be supported. Preliminary testing has shown the exoskeleton can provide timely and sufficient support to the user in a smooth and comfortable manner.
User lifting object with exoskeleton
User wearing the exoskeleton