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XoSoft: Soft-Exoskeleton for Human Beings with Movement Impairments

In cooperation with European partners the IMS is developing a soft-exoskeleton for people with movement impairments. The material used should be adaptive and stiffening depending on the type of movement.

Nowadays patients with difficulties Walking, either from birth or due to an event such as a stroke can be assisted by supporting structures. But these are mostly heavy and inflexible designs often only adjust to certain movements. 

The innovative fabric used in the exoskeleton is equipped with sensors with integrated electronics that learn the movements of limbs and support them, relieving pressure or allowing free movement at the right moment. The construction is planned to be thin and wearable like leggings or socks under normal clothes. 

The principle behind the stiffness changing material is a structure, which reacts to electrical fields. This material is being developed by project partners from the Italian Institute of Technology IIT. Movements are gathered by algorithms, which evaluate the data given by sensors. Behind this lies a model of movements adjusted individually for every patient. Programming of the algorithms depends mainly on which sensors are used.  Possible candidates would be pressure sensors, electromyogram or absolute position transducers. Electromyograms measure the natural electrical tension in a muscle and the position transducers locate the position of the system in space.

IMS is responsible for the integration of the individual components and is involved with the laboratory testing and development of the control engineering.

Project Details

Project Website:

Funding: EU

Project Start: 2016

Duration: 36 months

Prof. Dr. Konrad Stadler

Prof. Dr. Konrad Stadler

ZHAW School of Engineering
Forschungsschwerpunkt Control Engineering & Advanced Control
Technikumstrasse 9
8400 Winterthur

+41 (0) 58 934 78 27