Soft Wearable Elbow Exosuit

Robotic exoskeletons have been developed for a large number of applications and now represent an appealing frontier for human assistance or augmentation. They have been largely used in rehabilitation of people who suffer from neurological impairments (such as stroke or tetraplegia) or spinal cord injuries. Whilst a large number of devices have been engineered for the lower limbs, considerably fewer solutions exist for the upper limbs.

 The reason can be found in the complexity of the actions that a human arm/hand must perform, ranging from a simple flexion of the elbow to the complex act of manipulating an object. That's why at present the technology for rehabilitation of upper limbs involves the use of complex rigid systems deployed in hospitals for constrained induced motion therapy, consisting in repetitive movements to partially recover voluntary control. Unfortunately the degree of recovery is seldom enough to allow the patient to be fully independent.

This makes the case for an asssitive device that is portable, low-profile and lightweight enough to be used on a daily basis in "real-world" scenarios. Our approach is to design clothing-like devices that constrain as little as possible natural movements and provide assistance when needed.  The working principle consists of actuating, using a motor attached to a backpack or around the waist, a set of artificial tendons routed in the "exosuit" along specific loadpaths. Retracting or releasing the tendons results in the application of a torque on the user's joints in a fashion that closely resembles the way natural muscles work. Following this rationale, we are designing and testing a soft exosuit to assist elbow flexion/extension movements while minimizing  power consumption, weight and overall size of the system.

Publications

JOURNAL PAPERS

Xiloyannis L, Annese E, Canesi M, Kodian A, Bicchi A, Micera S, Ajoudani A, Masia L. "Design and Validation of a Modular One-To-Many Actuator for a Soft Wearable Exosuit".  Frontiers on Neurobotics, May 2019, 13.

Cappello L, Xiloyannis M, Dinh BK,  Pirrera A, Mattioni F and Masia L. "Multistable Series Elastic Actuators: Design and Control".  Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), Volume 118, August 2019, Pages 167-178.

Xiloyannis M, Chiaradia D, Frisoli A and Masia L. "Physiological and kinematic effects of a soft exosuit on arm movements". Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2019, 16:29.

Dinh BK,  Xiloyannis M, Cappello C, Antuvan CW, Yen SC, Masia L. "Adaptive Backlash Compensation in Upper Limb Soft Wearable Exoskeletons ", Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Volume 92, June 2017, Pages 173–186)

Dinh BK, Xiloyannis M, Antuvan CW, Cappello L, Masia L.  "Hierarchical Cascade Controller for Assistance Modulation in a Soft Wearable Arm Exoskeleton ". IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters ( Volume: PP, Issue: 99 ) ( finalist for best paper award at IEEE ICRA2017)

Xiloyannis M., Cappello L., Khanh D. B., Antuvan C. W., Masia L. "Preliminary design and control of a soft exosuit for assisting elbow movements and hand grasping in activities of daily living", Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering (RATE), October 2016.


BOOK CHAPTERS ON WEARABLE EXOSUITS

Domenico Chiaradia, Michele Xiloyannis, Massimiliano Solazzi, Lorenzo Masia and Antonio Frisoli, "Rigid Vs Soft Exoskeletons: interaction strategies for upper limb assistive technology", in Wearable Robotics: Systems and Applications. In press.

Michele Xiloyannis, Khanh D. Binh, Leonardo Cappello, Chris W. Antuvan and Lorenzo Masia, "​Chapter 10. A Soft Wearable Elbow Exosuit: Design Considerations", in Wearable Technology for Medicine and Healthcare, 1st edition, Elsevier, 2018.

​​Lorenzo Masia, Irfan Hussain, Michele Xiloyannis, Claudio, Pacchierotti, Leonardo Cappello, Monica Malvezzi, Giovanni Spagnoletti, Chris Wilson Antuvan, Dinh Binh Khanh, Maria Pozzi and Domenico Prattichizzo, "Soft Wearable Assistive Robotics: Exosuits and Supernumerary Limbs", in Wearable Exoskeleton Systems: Design, control and applications, 1st edition (pp. 219-254), IET, 2018.


INTERNATIONAL PEER REVIEWED CONFERENCES

Luca Tiseni , Michele Xiloyannis , Domenico Chiaradia, Nicola Lotti , Massimiliano Solazzi , Herman van der Kooij , Antonio Frisoli and Lorenzo Masia, “On the edge between soft and rigid: an assistive shoulder exoskeleton with hyper-redundant kinematics”, International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Toronto, Canada, 2019.

Kieran Little , Chris W. Antuvan, Michele Xiloyannis , Bernardo A.P.S. de Noronha , Yongtae G. Kim , Lorenzo Masia and Dino Accoto, “IMU-based assistance modulation in upper limb soft wearable exosuits”, International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Toronto, Canada, 2019.

​​Michele Xiloyannis, Domenico Chiaradia, Antonio Frisoli and Lorenzo Masia, “Characterisation of pressure distribution at the interface of a soft exosuit: towards a more comfortable wear”, International Symposium on Wearable Robotics (WeRob), Pisa, Italy, 2018.

​​Michele Xiloyannis, Letizia Galli, Domenico Chiaradia, Antonio Frisoli Francesco Braghin and Lorenzo Masia, “A Soft Tendon-Driven Robotic Glove: Preliminary Evaluation”, International Conference on Neurorehabilitatiton (ICNR), Pisa, Italy, 2018.

​​Domenico Chiaradia, Michele Xiloyannis, Massimiliano Sollazzi , Lorenzo Masia and Antonio Frisoli, “Comparison of a Soft Exosuit and a Rigid Exoskeleton in an Assistive Task”, International Symposium on Wearable Robotics (WeRob), Pisa, Italy, 2018.

​​Domenico Chiaradia, Michele Xiloyannis, Chris W. Antuvan, Antonio Frisoli, Lorenzo M, Design and Embedded Control of a Soft Elbow Exosuit, IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), Livorno, Italy, 2018.

Chiaradia D, Xiloyannis M, Antuvan CW, Frisoli A and Masia L. "Design and Embedded Control of a Soft Elbow Exosuit" 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), 24-28 April 2018, Livorno, Italy.

Xiloyannis M, Chiaradia D, Frisoli A and Masia M. 'Characterisation of a Soft Exosuit for Assistance of the Elbow Joint'. International Symposium on Wearable & Rehabilitation Robotics (WeRob 2018),5-8 November 2017, Houston, TX USA.

Canesi M, Xiloyannis M, Ajoudani A, Bicchi A, Masia L. 'Modular One-to-many Clutchable Actuator for a Soft Elbow Exosuit' IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 20152017, July 17-20, London, UK.

Binh Khanh Dinh, Michele Xiloyannis, Chris Wilson Antuvan, Leonardo Cappello, and Lorenzo Masia. ’Hierarchical Cascade Controller for Assistance Modulation in a Soft WearableArm Exoskeleton’. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation ICRA 2017, Singapore 29th May-03rd June 2017 (ongoing finalist for best paper award at ICRA2017)

Binh Khanh Dinh, Cappello L, Xiloyannis M, and Masia L. 'Position Control using Adaptive Backlash Compensation for Bowden Cable Transmission in Soft Wearable Exoskeleton'. IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems IROS 2016, Daejeon, South Korea 9th-14th October 2016 (IEEE RAS STUDENT TRAVEL GRANT)

Binh Khanh Dinh, Cappello L, and Masia L. 'Localized Extreme Learning Machine for Online Inverse Dynamic Model Estimation in Soft Wearable Exoskeleton'. IEEE International Conference on  Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics BIOROB 2016, Singapore 26th-29th June 2016.

Xiloyannis M, Cappello L, Dinh BK and Masia L. 'Towards the Design of an Underactuated Soft Exoskeleton for Grasp Assistance'. In 2016 6th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob) 26-26 June, Singapore. (IEEE BEST STUDENT PAPER AWARD)

Leonardo Cappello, Khanh Dinh Binh and Lorenzo Masia. 'Design of SARCOMEX: a Soft ARm COMpliant Exoskeleton'. In 2016 6th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob) 26-26 June, Singapore.

Binh Khanh Dinh, Leonardo Cappello, "Lorenzo Masia. Control Implementation of Compliant Composite Material Actuators for Wearable Robotic Exoskeletons"  IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2015, 11-14 August 2015, Singapore.

Leonardo Cappello, Alberto Pirrera, Paul Weaver, Lorenzo Masia. "A Series Elastic Composite Actuator for Soft Arm Exosuits: Design and Preliminary Test".IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2015, 11-14 August 2015, Singapore. (IEEE BEST STUDENT PAPER AWARD)