Wearable technology is designed to help users with weakness or walking disabilities, but could be improved if it were tailored to its user. When it comes to assistive devices, the wearer and the robot need to be in sync, but every human moves a bit differently and tailoring the robot's parameters for an individual user is a time-consuming and inefficient process.
Now researchers from Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard University's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have been working on personalised assistive soft robotic wearables, exosuits that move in sync with their users in order to help them more efficiently.
“This new method is an effective and fast way to optimise control parameter settings for assistive wearable devices,” said Ye Ding, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and co-first author of the research. “Using this method, we achieved a huge improvement in metabolic performance for the wearers of a hip extension assistive device.”
The optimised exosuit could prove to be a game changer for those who depend on the technology the most. Researchers have developed a human-in-the-loop bayesian optimisation method to individualise hip assistance with a soft exosuit. It works by measuring the metabolic rate to adjust the peak and offset timing of the hip extension assistance.
The technology reduces the amount of energy consumed as a result of performing actions by 17.4 percent in wearers. The future of the technology will be further optimised so that it can assist multiple joints at the same time.
Have a look at the video to learn more about the wearable technology.