Development of an Active Exoskeleton for Assisting Back Movements in Lifting Weights

Francesco Durante, Michele Gabrio Antonelli, and Pierluigi Beomonte Zobel
University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
Abstract—In the present work, we show the development of an active exoskeletal device to aid the spine. This device is targeted at able-bodied people, who for various reasons may need help with lifting weights from the ground or more simply in daily movements. The characteristics of the device must respond to the characteristics of ergonomics, lightness, functionality, resistance, durability, and, last but not least, inexpensiveness, so as to be able to meet the needs of a large public. In order to equip the exoskeletal device with the listed characteristics, it was decided to create it using a combination of materials: polylactic acid for the back and the terminal shell, steel for the pins and spacers, and aluminum for the structure. This way, all the basic requirements for the success of the device have been met. Moreover, as for actuators, McKibben-type pneumatic muscles have been used, as they have particular characteristics of compliance and high power-to-weight ratio and are well suited to bioengineering systems.

Index Terms—exoskeleton, pneumatic muscle, service robot, biomechanics, control

Cite: Francesco Durante, Michele Gabrio Antonelli, and Pierluigi Beomonte Zobel, "Development of an Active Exoskeleton for Assisting Back Movements in Lifting Weights," International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 353-360, July 2018. DOI: 10.18178/ijmerr.7.4.353-360
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