PerspectiveRobotics

Witnessing a wearables transition

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Science  16 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6454, pp. 636-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw9407

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Summary

Wearable robots, such as exoskeletons and soft exosuits, can augment normal function or serve as prostheses for missing limbs. In both cases, they extend, complement, substitute, or enhance human functions and capability and can empower or replace human limbs. Cognitive and physical interactions between human and robot are key for these robots to seamlessly deliver assistance when required. The physical interaction between a robot and its wearer generates forces to overcome the wearer's physical limits, and cognitive interactions allow the wearer to guide and control the robot at all times. On page 668 of this issue, Kim et al. (1) report on a soft exosuit that switches assistance profiles for different physical interaction strategies—in this case, walking versus running—through a versatile cognitive interaction in which algorithms accurately determine and detect the wearer's gait.

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