Design, Development and Evaluation of Quasi-Passive Wearable Assistive Devices
Wearable assistive devices (exoskeletons, exosuits and prostheses) can assist human movement to achieve a variety of goals such as alleviating musculoskeletal disorders, compensating for a missing limb, offloading muscles, or reducing muscular fatigue. Research and development of new wearable assistive devices has grown significantly over recent years, but there are open questions about how users respond to these devices, and how to design devices to improve assistance and accelerate adoption by users. In this work I model, develop and evaluate wearable assistive devices for the low-back (i.e. textile-based exosuit), and evaluate a commercially available lower-limb adaptive ankle prosthesis. The main focus of this work is understanding how users respond to wearable assistive devices (e.g. in term of changes to muscle activity, fatigue, or gait mechanics), and how to better design them to improve user assistance, comfort and adoption.