Researchers from Heidelberg University, ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have looked to apply a new model towards the development of a novel soft exosuit. Creating an EMG-driven soft exosuit is of large interest to a variety of fields as the growing field of soft wearable exosuits, is gradually gaining terrain and proposing new complementary solutions in assistive technology, with several advantages in terms of portability, kinematic transparency, ergonomics, and metabolic efficiency. Those are palatable benefits that can be exploited in several applications, ranging from strength and resistance augmentation in industrial scenarios, to assistance or rehabilitation for people with motor impairments.
To be effective, however, an exosuit needs to synergistically work with the human and matching specific requirements in terms of both movement kinematics and dynamics: an accurate and timely intention-detection strategy is the paramount aspect which assume a fundamental importance for acceptance and usability of such technology.
The authors previously proposed to tackle this challenge by means of a model-based myoelectric controller, treating the exosuit as an external muscular layer in parallel to the human biomechanics and as such, controlled by the same efferent motor commands of biological muscles.