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  1. Abstract

    Human–exoskeleton interactions have the potential to bring about changes in human behavior for physical rehabilitation or skill augmentation. Despite significant advances in the design and control of these robots, their application to human training remains limited. The key obstacles to the design of such training paradigms are the prediction of human–exoskeleton interaction effects and the selection of interaction control to affect human behavior. In this article, we present a method to elucidate behavioral changes in the human–exoskeleton system and identify expert behaviors correlated with a task goal. Specifically, we observe the joint coordinations of the robot, also referred to as kinematic coordination behaviors, that emerge from human–exoskeleton interaction during learning. We demonstrate the use of kinematic coordination behaviors with two task domains through a set of three human-subject studies. We find that participants (1) learn novel tasks within the exoskeleton environment, (2) demonstrate similarity of coordination during successful movements within participants, (3) learn to leverage these coordination behaviors to maximize success within participants, and (4) tend to converge to similar coordinations for a given task strategy across participants. At a high level, we identify task-specific joint coordinations that are used by different experts for a given task goal. These coordinations can be quantified by observing experts and the similarity to these coordinations can act as a measure of learning over the course of training for novices. The observed expert coordinations may further be used in the design of adaptive robot interactions aimed at teaching a participant the expert behaviors.

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