W.A. de Vigier Prize for NCCR Robotics spin-off

On Wednesday, five Swiss start-ups received the W.A. de Vigier Award, which comes with prize money of 100,000 Swiss francs each. MyoSwiss, an NCCR Robotics spin-off, was one of them. More info here.   

MyoSwiss met W. A. de Vigier’s innovation and personality criteria

The jury of the W. A. De Vigier has revealed the top 10 candidates to proceed to the final stage of the competition. Besides their innovative products, this year’s selection laid emphasis on the CEOs’s personality. Five winners will be announced and each awarded CHF100’000. From over 220 submitted projects, the jury picked the Top …

Feedback enhances brainwave control of a novel hand-exoskeleton

EPFL scientists are developing a lightweight and portable hand exoskeleton that can be controlled with brainwaves. The device enhances performance of brain-machine interfaces and can restore functional grasps for the physically impaired. An extremely lightweight and portable hand exoskeleton may one day help the physically impaired with daily living. These are the hopes of EPFL …

Three NCCR Robotics Spin Offs selected in the IMD Start-up Competition 2017/2018

Feeltronix, Fotokite and TWIICE have been selected in this competition. For more info, visit IMD webpage. The Feeltronix breakthrough technology platform stretches the mechanical limits of electronics and provides solutions for robust and ultra-compliant rubber-based systems. Applications include smart bands for the next generation of wearables in sports, healthcare, AR/VR and fashion. feeltronix.com Fotokite is a spin-off from ETHZürich’s Flying Machine Arena with patented technology that fundamentally solves …

Stefan Schrade Doctoral Student Other, ETH Zurich Funding: - stefan.schrade@hest.ethz.ch +41 44 510 72 31

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A Brain-Controlled Exoskeleton with Cascaded Event-Related Desynchronization Classifiers

  • Authors: Lee, Kyuhwa; Liu, Dong; Perroud, Laetitia; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Millán, José del R.

This paper describes a brain-machine interface for the online control of a powered lower-limb exoskeleton based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals recorded over the user’s sensorimotor cortical areas. We train a binary decoder that can distinguish two different mental states, which is applied in a cascaded manner to efficiently control the exoskeleton in three different directions: walk front, turn left and turn right. This is realized by first classifying the user’s intention to walk front or change the direction. If the user decides to change the direction, a subsequent classification is performed to decide turn left or right. The user’s mental command is conditionally executed considering the possibility of obstacle collision. All five subjects were able to successfully complete the 3-way navigation task using brain signals while mounted in the exoskeleton. We observed on average 10.2% decrease in overall task completion time compared to the baseline protocol.

Posted on: August 31, 2016

Biomechanical effects of passive hip springs during walking

Authors:Haufe, F. L. ; Wolf, P. ; Riener, R. ; Grimmer, M.

Abstract

Passive spring-like structures can store and return energy during cyclic movements and thereby reduce the energetic cost of locomotion. That makes them important components of the human body and wearable assistive devices alike. This study investigates how springs placed anteriorly across the hip joint affect leg joint angles and powers, and leg muscle activities during level walking at 0.5 to 2.1 m/s. We hypothesized that the anterior hip springs (I) load hip extension, (II) support hip flexion and (III) affect ankle muscle activity and dynamics during walking. Effects at the ankle were expected because hip and ankle redistribute segmental power in concert to achieve forward progression. We observed that the participants’ contribution to hip power did not increase during hip extension as the spring stored energy. Simultaneously, the activities of plantarflexor muscles that modulate energy storage in the Achilles tendon were reduced by 28% (gastrocnemius medialis) and 9% (soleus). As the spring returned energy with the onset of hip flexion, the participants’ contribution to hip power was reduced by as much as 23%. Soleus activity before push-off increased by up to 9%. Instead of loading hip extension, anterior hip springs seem to store and return parts of the energy normally exchanged with the Achilles tendon. Thereby, the springs support hip flexion but may reduce elastic energy storage in and hence recoil from the Achilles tendon. This interaction should be considered during the design and simulation of wearable assistive devices as it might – depending on user characteristics – enhance or diminish their overall functionality.

Reference

  • Published in: Journal of Biomechanics, 109432
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109432
  • Read paper
  • Date: 2019
Posted on: May 10, 2020

Biomechanical effects of passive hip springs during walking

Authors: Haufe, F. L. ; Wolf, P. ; Riener, R. ; Grimmer, M.

Abstract

Passive spring-like structures can store and return energy during cyclic movements and thereby reduce the energetic cost of locomotion. That makes them important components of the human body and wearable assistive devices alike. This study investigates how springs placed anteriorly across the hip joint affect leg joint angles and powers, and leg muscle activities during level walking at 0.5 to 2.1 m/s. We hypothesized that the anterior hip springs (I) load hip extension, (II) support hip flexion and (III) affect ankle muscle activity and dynamics during walking. Effects at the ankle were expected because hip and ankle redistribute segmental power in concert to achieve forward progression. We observed that the participants’ contribution to hip power did not increase during hip extension as the spring stored energy. Simultaneously, the activities of plantarflexor muscles that modulate energy storage in the Achilles tendon were reduced by 28% (gastrocnemius medialis) and 9% (soleus). As the spring returned energy with the onset of hip flexion, the participants’ contribution to hip power was reduced by as much as 23%. Soleus activity before push-off increased by up to 9%. Instead of loading hip extension, anterior hip springs seem to store and return parts of the energy normally exchanged with the Achilles tendon. Thereby, the springs support hip flexion but may reduce elastic energy storage in and hence recoil from the Achilles tendon. This interaction should be considered during the design and simulation of wearable assistive devices as it might – depending on user characteristics – enhance or diminish their overall functionality.

Reference

  • Published in: Journal of Biomechanics (Volume 98, 2. January 2020, 109432)
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109432
  • Read paper
  • Date: 2020
Posted on: May 10, 2020