Building block for exoskeleton could lead to more independence among the elderly (w/ Video)

November 12, 2013 by Dawn Fuller
UC research brings a future of mind-reading robots ever closer
From left, Shikha Chaganti, Anca Ralescu and Gaurav Mukherjee work on a brain-computer interface project at the University of Cincinnati. Credit: Anca Ralescu

What if certain patients could get a bionic pick-up without undergoing the pain and lengthy recovery of surgery? University of Cincinnati researchers are working on just that idea, with the start of an exoskeleton to support people who – through age or injury – are limited in their movement.

Gaurav Mukherjee, a UC master's student in mechanical engineering in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), will present the interdisciplinary research on Nov. 15, at the International Human-Centered Robotics Symposium, which will be held at UC's Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center.

Working with a senior student design team in , Mukherjee and Grant Schaffner, an assistant professor in UC's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, designed and built a spring-assisted leg exoskeleton that can help people stand and sit. Further research partnerships with Shikha Chaganti, a master's degree student in computer science, and her advisor, Anca K. Ralescu, a UC professor of computer science, are examining how a brain-computer interface can interpret how to operate the exoskeleton with what the user wants to do.

Mukherjee says that a analysis study has been underway in the lab – using markers on the body to build a virtual model. The results of the experiment can help researchers design the exoskeleton to supplement the capability of the user.

The video will load shortly
University of Cincinnati researchers are studying human movement as they work on creating an exoskeleton to benefit elderly patients, stroke patients and paraplegics.

Additionally, researchers are exploring muscle activity to produce a suit that will work in cooperation with the natural movement of the patient/user, rather than forcing a predetermined motion.

Mukherjee says the exoskeleton could hold promise for the nation's aging Baby Boomer population, adding that as many as 3 million American senior citizens currently require some form of nursing supervision. The interdisciplinary research is hoped to one day benefit geriatric patients, patients affected by stroke and paraplegics, in gaining independence in movement.

The exoskeleton research is a collaboration with the College of Engineering and Applied Science's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems and the UC College of Nursing.

Future research will involve further development of the in building supports to enable movement of ankles and hips, as well as developing better fluidity in movement.

Explore further: Researchers explore the potential of an exoskeleton patients can control with their brains

Related Stories

Project to develop intelligent and wearable body exoskeleton

September 11, 2013

The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is partner in the Robo-Mate project, starting in September 2013. Together with 11 European partners this research project aims at designing a human-guided exoskeleton ...

Robotic exoskeleton replaces muscle work

February 8, 2007

A robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system could help users regain limb function, which is encouraging news for people with partial nervous system impairment, say University of Michigan researchers.

Recommended for you

Samsung to disable Note 7 phones in recall effort

December 9, 2016

Samsung announced Friday it would disable its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to force remaining owners to stop using the devices, which were recalled for safety reasons.

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.