Exoskeleton robots have been demonstrated to effectively assist the rehabilitation of patients with upper or lower limb disabilities. To make exoskeletons more accessible to patients, they need to be lightweight and compact without major performance tradeoffs. Existing upper limb exoskeletons focus on assistance with coarse motion of the upper arm, whereas forearm fine-motion rehabilitation is often ignored. This paper presents an elbow-wrist exoskeleton with five degrees of freedom (DoFs). Using geared bearings, slider crank mechanisms, and a spherical mechanism for the wrist and elbow modules, this exoskeleton can provide 5-DoF rotary motion forearm assistance. The optimized exoskeleton dimensions allow sufficient rotation output while the motors are placed parallel to the forearm and elbow joint. Thus, compactness and less inertia loading can be achieved. Linear and rotary series elastic actuators with high torque-to-weight ratios are proposed to accurately measure and control interaction force and impedance between exoskeleton and forearm. The resulting 3-kg exoskeleton can be used alone or easily in combination with other exoskeleton robots to provide various robot-aided upper limb rehabilitation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering