Lower Limb Exoskeletons

Performance site: EPFL, Lausanne

Project description: 

As a result of spinal cord injury, patients often lose both motor and sensory functions in the parts of the body under the lesion.

Exoskeletons hold the promise to restore parts of the lost motor functions and to permit patients to perform their activities of daily living. However, to date, commercially available exoskeleton fail at restoring the missing sensory feedback from the limbs.

Experiments with lower-limb amputee patients have shown that adding sensory feedback to the prosthetic improves patients walking ability and decreased the cognitive load during locomotion (Petrini 2019).

The goal of the current project is to enhance the TWIICE exoskeleton*, developed at the Laboratory of Robotic Systems with a portable haptic device system that has been previously extensively tested with patients with SCI (Shokur 2016).   

Activities:

  • Familiarization with the existing tactile sleeves.
  • Reproduce the existing hardware.
  • Psychometrical tests, and characterization of the sensory feedback capabilities to induce sensation of leg movements.
  • Psychometrical tests, and characterization of the sensory feedback capabilities to induce sensation of the center of mass.
  • Integration of the tactile sleeves with the existing TWIICE robot
  • Tests with healthy subjects
  • If successful: tests with a patient with Spinal Cord Injury.

 Requirements:

Project is 30% hardware, 20% software, 50% experimentation

Best for master project

Contact: [email protected]

References:

Petrini, Francesco Maria, et al. “Sensory feedback restoration in leg amputees improves walking speed, metabolic cost and phantom pain.” Nature medicine 25.9 (2019): 1356-1363.

Shokur, Solaiman, et al. “Assimilation of virtual legs and perception of floor texture by complete paraplegic patients receiving artificial tactile feedback.” Scientific Reports 6 (2016): 32293.

(*) http://twiice.ch/

Contact

Andrea Crema ([email protected])