Passive arm weight support device
The intended goal of the research is to assist workers with frequent use of upper limbs by applying a soft wearable robot approach.
Musculoskeletal burden and subsequent injury of shoulder are common among workers such as laparoscopic surgeons, car mechanics, and orchardists. Their main posture and duration of works vary, but they have something in common: repeated or sustained use of upper body, which often leads to minor muscular strain or even serious injury.
To mitigate the current risks involved with the extensive use of shoulder in specific occupations, we have developed the arm weight compensating mechanism coupled with the wearable force grounding structure. The reaction force generated by the passive spring actuator is “anchored” via the distribution of force on relatively safe region of the human body.
A simplified human arm model that assumes flexion angle dependent sinusoidal torque profile has been used. To further improve the usability of the passive spring mechanism, a research in manipulating assistive force output based on the need of different users is in progress.
Related papers and patents
Daegeun Park and Kyu-Jin Cho, “Development and evaluation of a soft wearable weight support device for reducing muscle fatigue on shoulder”, Plos One, Mar. 2017. [PDF]