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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurorobot. | doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2019.00030

Assistive Arm-Exoskeleton Control Based on Human Muscular Manipulability

  • 1Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia
  • 2Department of Cognitive Robotics, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • 3Computational Neuroscience Labs, ATR Brain Communications Research Institute, Japan

This paper introduces a novel control framework for an arm exoskeleton that takes into account force of the human arm. In contrast to the conventional exoskeleton controllers where the assistance is provided without considering the human arm biomechanical force manipulability properties, we propose a control approach based on the arm muscular manipulability. The proposed control framework essentially reshapes the anisotropic force manipulability into the endpoint force manipulability that is invariant with respect to the direction in the entire workspace of the arm. This allows users of the exoskeleton to perform tasks effectively in the whole range of the workspace, even in areas that are normally unsuitable due to the low force manipulability of the human arm. We evaluated the proposed control framework with real robot experiments where subjects wearing an arm exoskeleton were asked to move a weight between several locations. The results show that the proposed control framework does not affect the normal movement behavior of the users while effectively reduces user effort in the area of low manipulability. Particularly, the proposed approach augments the human arm force manipulability to execute tasks equally well in the entire workspace of the arm.

Keywords: Exoskeleton control, Manipulability analysis, robot assistance, Arm exoskeleton, human-robot interaction

Received: 30 Jan 2019; Accepted: 08 May 2019.

Edited by:

Yongping Pan, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Reviewed by:

Tairen Sun, Jiangsu University, China
Venketesh N. Dubey, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Duygun Erol Barkana, Yeditepe University, Turkey  

Copyright: © 2019 Petric, Peternel, Morimoto and Babic. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Tadej Petric, Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Ljubljana, Slovenia, tadej.petric@ijs.si