Modular exoskeleton for walking assistance

©Alain Herzog/EPFL

The aim of this project is to design a modular exoskeleton to assist walking. It will be able to selectively assist all the joints in the legs and to adjust to the patient’s impairment and needs.

Exoskeletons, or orthotic devices which assist walking, are a promising way for people with physical disability to recover mobility. Technology improves, however the current devices on the market only offer a preprogrammed standardized locomotion, regardless of the needs and deficiencies of the patient.

This project proposes to develop a new concept of modular exoskeletons. This modularity will, as necessary, allow to achieve a full or partial assistance of both the hip and the knee joints or only one of them. Lightweight, this modular walk assist orthosis is capable to offer the user high walking dynamics as well as high back-drivability of transmission to work both in mobilization and in partial walk assistance.

The collaboration between the Laboratory of Robotic Systems (LSRO) and the mechatronics company Sonceboz will allow the development of an actuator with an integrated transmission which particularly fits the market of walking exoskeletons. This is one of the major innovations of this project which will open new opportunities for the exoskeletons of tomorrow.

This two and a half years research project is conducted at the LSRO, led by Professor Hannes Bleuler. It involves 3 scientists at EPFL working on mechanical design, device construction, development of control strategies and clinical validation of the developed technologies and techniques. It is sponsored by Sonceboz.

Link to the press kit

Principal investigators Prof. Hannes Bleuler, Mohamed Bouri
Sponsor Sonceboz
Period 2016-2018
Laboratory LSRO
Collaboration TRACE