SPEXOR: Design and development of passive spinal exoskeletal robot for low back pain prevention and vocational reintegration
The objective of SPEXOR project is to address low back pain as one of the most appealing health problems of the modern society by creating a body of scientific and technological knowledge in the multidisciplinary areas of biomechanics, robotics, and computer science that will lead to technologies for low back pain prevention. In this paper we provide an overview of the current state-of-art of SPEXOR that the consortium achieved in the first twenty-four months of the project. After introducing the rationale, we describe the biomechanics of low back pain intervention, development of the musculoskeletal stress monitoring for assessment of neuromuscular trunk functions, modeling and optimization of the interaction of spinal exoskeleton with the human body, electromechanical design and development of the passive spinal exoskeleton and its control, and finally the end-user evaluation of the functional effects, usability and satisfaction.
KeywordsLow-back pain Spinal exoskeleton Musculoskeletal stress
Low-back pain (LBP) is often termed a pandemic of the modern world and represents great socioeconomic burden. Epidemiological studies have shown correlation between physically demanding jobs and prevalence of LBP, symptoms exaggeration and back injuries. Among these jobs handling heavy loads, repeated lifting and working time spent in flexed position are the most challenging. The objective of SPEXOR project is to address LBP by creating a body of scientific and technological knowledge in the multidisciplinary areas of biomechanics, robotics, and computer science that will lead to technologies for LBP prevention. In the following sections we provide an overview of the current state-of-art of SPEXOR that the consortium achieved in the first twenty-four months of the project.
2 Biomechanics of LBP intervention
3 Musculoskeletal stress monitoring
4 Modeling and optimization
Optimal control for motion analysis: focusing on a tracking of recorded motions of healthy subjects without exoskeleton with combined human-exoskeleton models to explore how exoskeletons can provide maximum support for such standard motion patterns.
Optimal control for motion prediction: applying different objective functions such as a minimization of activation or a minimization of joint torques to predict motion trajectories for these behavior rules as well as parameters and (in the active case) required motor torques of the exoskeleton.
5 Electromechanics of spinal exoskeleton
6 Adaptive control architecture
7 End-user evaluation
This paper provides an overview of the current state-of-art of SPEXOR that the consortium achieved in the first twenty-four months of the project. In the future, our efforts will be dedicated towards the design and development of the active spinal exoskeleton that will address the current inabilities of the passive exoskeleton.
Members of SPEXOR consortium J. Babič (coordinator), T. Petrič, M. Cevzar, M. Jamšek: Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia; K. Mombaur (PI), M. Harant, M. Sreenivasa, M. Millard: Heidelberg University, Germany; D. Lefeber (PI), C. Rodriguez-Guerrero, M. Näf: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; J. van Dieën (PI), I. Kingma, G. Faber, S. Bruin, A. Koopman: VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands; B. Graimann (PI), J. Bornmann, M. Tüttemann, J. Gonzalez, P. Klinkert: Otto Bock Healthcare GmbH, Germany; M. Russold (PI), D. Pieringer: Otto Bock Healthcare Products GmbH, Austria; N. Šarabon (PI), A. Panjan, K. Kastelic, M. Savić: S2P Science to practice d.o.o., Slovenia; H. Houdijk (PI), C. van Bennekom (PI), J. Nachtegaal, S. Baltrusch: Heliomare, The Netherlands.
Project webpage http://www.spexor.eu.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 687662 - SPEXOR.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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