Kaiteki Project

A Wearable Hybrid Robotic Suit for Self-Actualization and Well-Being

Motivation

Potential sites around the human body

Millions of elderly around the world will be diagnosed with a mobility impairment due to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or a weak musculoskeletal system. There are over 50 million people in the US living with physical disabilities compromising mobility. We take many daily activities for granted – walking with a spouse or friend, playing with children, shopping in a store, using a bathroom on time and independently – until we have reduced mobility. Most importantly, reduced mobility leads to degenerative fitness and health problems. This proposal will focus on the challenges of improving mobility, due to its potential for high societal impact.

Concept

We propose a wearable hybrid robotic system that assists, enhances, and augments a person in their daily activities around the home and in the workplace in order to improve quality of life, increase productivity, and prolong independent living. Our approach focuses on three key research activities in order to achieve a wearable, hybrid system that works with its user to provide (a) alternate load pathways, (b) reconfigure itself for different activities, and (c) learn alongside its wearer to improve usability. First, we propose a biomechanics-based investigation of routine activities often seen in the workplace and in daily living to identify key opportunities for intervention. Second, we propose a low-cost and highly customizable design approach in which arrays of passive devices may be engaged or disengaged to provide dynamic and low-power support to the user as they transition through various activities. Finally, we propose to pair this wearable device with a machine learning approach called “mutual adaptation” in order to learn about – and reciprocally guide and train – the robotic device for more effective use and symbiosis with the wearer.

Researchers

Dan Aukes

Assistant Professor
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Heni Ben Amor

Assistant Professor
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Hyunglae Lee

Assistant Professor
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Tom Sugar

Professor
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Wenlong Zhang

Assistant Professor
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Funding Provided by The Kaiteki Institute