An advanced wearable robotic exoskeleton for assisting people with lower limb disabilities

Human locomotion is influenced by many factors, including neuromuscular and joint disorders that affect the functionality of joints and can cause partial or complete paralysis. Reduced mobility is estimated to affect over 1.5 million people in the United States alone. Many individuals require mobility assistive technologies to keep up with their daily life, and the demand for these devices increases with age.

A wearable robotic exoskeleton is an external structural mechanism with joints and links corresponding to those of a human body. It is synchronized with the motion of a human body to enhance or support natural body movements. The exoskeleton transmits torques through links to the human joints and augments human strength.

Dr. Arzanpour has developed a novel wearable robotic exoskeleton for assisting people with lower limb disabilities, such as spinal cord injury patients. The robot is highly versatile and capable of guiding the lower limb joints to perform all normal and complex movements. The technology is light, modular, portable, programmable and relatively inexpensive, and is particularly innovative in its versatile hip, knee and ankle joint mechanism, such that the normal range of motion of the natural joints is preserved.

So far, a proof-of-concept prototype of the proposed lower limb exoskeleton has been fabricated and successfully tested on an anthropomorphic test dummy. With further progress this technology could help people with lower limb disabilities to walk again and greatly improve their quality of life.