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Title: Simultaneously varying back stiffness and trunk compression in a passive trunk exoskeleton during different activities: A pilot study
Passive trunk exoskeletons support the human body with mechanical elements like springs and trunk compression, allowing them to guide motion and relieve the load on the spine. However, to provide appropriate support, elements of the exoskeleton (e.g., degree of compression) should be intelligently adapted to the current task. As it is not currently clear how adjusting different exoskeleton elements affects the wearer, this study preliminarily examines the effects of simultaneously adjusting both exoskeletal spinal column stiffness and trunk compression in a passive trunk exoskeleton. Six participants performed four dynamic tasks (walking, sit-to-stand, lifting a 20-lb box, lifting a 40-lb box) and experienced unexpected perturbations both without the exoskeleton and in six exoskeleton configurations corresponding to two compression levels and three stiffness levels. While results are preliminary due to the small sample size and relatively small increases in stiffness, they indicate that both compression and stiffness may affect kinematics and electromyography, that the effects may differ between activities, and that there may be interaction effects between stiffness and compression. As the next step, we will conduct a larger study with the same protocol more participants and larger stiffness increases to systematically evaluate the effects of different exoskeleton characteristics on the wearer.Clinical more » Relevance- Trunk exoskeletons can support wearers during a variety of different tasks, but their configuration may need to be intelligently adjusted to provide appropriate support. This pilot study provides information about the effects of exoskeleton back stiffness and trunk compression on the wearer, which can be used as a basis for more effective device design and usage. « less
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Proceedings of the 43rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
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National Science Foundation
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