Biomechanics-Based Optimization for Exoskeleton Design


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Virginia Tech


The goal of this thesis is to use biomechanical data describing shoulder motion to determine optimal parameters to assist in the design of a 5 DOF active shoulder exoskeleton. This thesis will provide a proof of concept on optimization techniques using motion data using a simplified 3 DOF model to facilitate future work implementing a full 5 DOF model. Optimization will be performed to determine the link lengths and, consequently, the locations of the joints of the exoskeleton by considering the human's workspace to maximize range of motion and promote user safety by minimizing collisions of the exoskeleton with the user and with the exoskeleton itself. The thesis will detail the development of computational models of the human and proposed exoskeleton, the processing of experimental data used to estimate the human's capabilities, optimization, and future work. This work will contribute to a large-scale NSF-funded project of building an upper body exoskeleton emulator. The emulator will promote the widespread adoption of exoskeletons in industry by providing a test-bed to streamline the rapid design of various assistance profiles for various users and tasks.



biomechanical modeling, shoulder exoskeleton, design optimization