The long-term goal of this research is to develop a low-cost upper-limb exoskeleton to aid individuals with neuromuscular impairments in underserved communities. About 800,000 people suffer from stroke each year, and up to 80% of them lose mobility or strength of one half of their body, including their arm. Commercial wearable exoskeletons can aid stroke recovery, but the high cost and the limited number of actuated degrees of freedom (DOFs) of these devices prevent widespread use. Here we present the design and development of a low-cost 3D-printed exoskeleton with five actuated DOFs. 3D-printed parts, digital servos, and a low-cost signal processing unit, are used to keep the overall cost below $1,000. The exoskeleton design provides five actuated DOFs, including tripod and power grasps, wrist flexion, wrist pronation/supination, and elbow flexion. In contrast, commercially available exoskeletons provide only two actuated DOFs, tripod grasp and elbow flexion, at a cost of approximately $30,000. This project provides proof of concept that upper-limb exoskeleton devices can be designed to have increased DOFs and a lower price. After further design validation for comfort and torque, this exoskeleton device could treat a variety of neuromuscular deficiencies in underserved communities.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Jacob George