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Sensors 2011, 11(1), 207-227; doi:10.3390/s110100207
Article

Sensing Pressure Distribution on a Lower-Limb Exoskeleton Physical Human-Machine Interface

1,* , 1, 1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 3 and 1
Received: 1 November 2010 / Revised: 22 November 2010 / Accepted: 24 December 2010 / Published: 28 December 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in Biomechanics and Biomedicine)
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Abstract

A sensory apparatus to monitor pressure distribution on the physical human-robot interface of lower-limb exoskeletons is presented. We propose a distributed measure of the interaction pressure over the whole contact area between the user and the machine as an alternative measurement method of human-robot interaction. To obtain this measure, an array of newly-developed soft silicone pressure sensors is inserted between the limb and the mechanical interface that connects the robot to the user, in direct contact with the wearer’s skin. Compared to state-of-the-art measures, the advantage of this approach is that it allows for a distributed measure of the interaction pressure, which could be useful for the assessment of safety and comfort of human-robot interaction. This paper presents the new sensor and its characterization, and the development of an interaction measurement apparatus, which is applied to a lower-limb rehabilitation robot. The system is calibrated, and an example its use during a prototypical gait training task is presented.
Keywords: human-robot interaction; physical human-machine interface; distributed force sensor; lower-limb exoskeleton human-robot interaction; physical human-machine interface; distributed force sensor; lower-limb exoskeleton
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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De Rossi, S.M.M.; Vitiello, N.; Lenzi, T.; Ronsse, R.; Koopman, B.; Persichetti, A.; Vecchi, F.; Ijspeert, A.J.; Van der Kooij, H.; Carrozza, M.C. Sensing Pressure Distribution on a Lower-Limb Exoskeleton Physical Human-Machine Interface. Sensors 2011, 11, 207-227.

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