FUM Exoskeleton-I

Most countries report a rapid increase in ageing population worldwide. Elderly people normally have physical deterioration and frailty, imposing a heavy burden on the social health care system. In addition, each year, approximately 15 million people suffer from a stroke worldwide and 5 million of these individuals are left with a permanent disability. In this regard, an increasing trend has emerged in using robots for medical purposes. Rehabilitative robotics is an area in the interface of medical and engineering fields, with a variety of different robotic applications, one of which is the use of robotic exoskeleton in rehabilitation. An exoskeleton is a wearable mechanism matching the shape and functions of human body, usually with an anthropomorphic configuration and capable of tracking the movements of the user’s extremities. In most applications, exoskeletons are designed to produce forces that assist the user in performing a motor task. The exoskeleton works mechanically in parallel with human body and can be actuated passively and or actively. By training the wearers’ muscles and assisting their movements, robot-assisted rehabilitation can release therapists from the heavy burden of rehabilitation training and provide long training sessions for the patients with good consistency. Lower limb exoskeleton can be used for providing strength during walking, to carry heavy loads or aiding the disabled people for walking. Different exoskeletal devices have been developed to supplement the mechanical power needed by people with lower-limb impairments, developed as tools for gait rehabilitation and mobility assistance. Powered lower-limb exoskeleton has gained considerable interests, since it can help patients with spinal cord injury to stand and walk again. The current FUM exoskeleton accommodates an extensive array of sensors integrated with an advanced control system, enabling full movement control. The modular and adjustable design allows the user to independently wear and remove each segment of the robot, and can comfortably be worn while seated in a wheelchair. The overall weight is less than 22 kg while producing a maximum speed of 0.5m/s. Batteries allow 2 hours of continuous or 8 hours of intermittent walk.