XoSoft - Soft modular exoskeleton to assist people with mobility impairments
Together with their European partners, ZHAW researchers are developing an intelligent assistive walking device that can harden or soften, depending on the movement made.
Many people experience varying degrees of mobility impairment due to an accident or afflictions of old age. Assistive devices play a pivotal role in their lives and impact on their ability to live independently and perform basic tasks of daily living. Yet most assistive devices, such as powered wheel chairs, do not encourage or support the activation of legs, which is essential to prevent further atrophy. An international, multidisciplinary consortium of researchers from nine organisations and seven European countries has therefore set out to develop, within the framework of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, a novel solution: a wearable, intelligent clothing system named XoSoft.
Between 2000 and 2050, the older population (80 years +) is projected to almost quadruple from approximately 100 million to 395 million people worldwide. Many people experience varying degrees of mobility impairment due to an accident or afflictions of old age. Assistive devices play a pivotal role in their lives and impact on their ability to live independently and perform basic tasks of daily living. There are currently 40 million people in Europe who cannot walk without an aid. Yet most assistive devices, such as powered wheel chairs, do not encourage or support the activation of legs. XoSoft should answer the need of these and other user groups for low to moderate mobility assistance. The exoskeleton is developed by a consortium of five research groups and three companies with EU project experience in exoskeleton / assistive orthotics development.
The overall aim of this multidisciplinary research action is to develop a soft, modular, lower limb exoskeleton that elderly and disabled people with mobility impairments can wear to increase their mobility and to assist their leg strength and support.
XoSoft will employ smart soft robotics, biomimetic controlled actuation and connected health data feedback and interface.
Methods and Procedure
A core feature of XoSoft is that it follows a user centred design approach. The figure below illustrates the XoSoft design and development approach, which is subdivided into nine Work Packages. User requirements and design specifications are established before concept technology development commences.
The design is realised in the selection of technologies, which are developed based on their ability to deliver the user centred design solution. Finally, the mature prototype will be evaluated in clinical and home trials.
- Project Management ZHAW Insitute of Physiotherapy
Dr. Eveline Graf
Prof. Dr. phil. Markus Wirz
- Project duration
1st February 2016 – 31st January 2019
- Project team ZHAW
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union, ICT-Robotics
- Project status
Publications and Reports
- 25th April 2019, Press Release, ZHAW School of Health Professions
Energieeffiziente Hightech-Leggins für Menschen mit Gehbehinderung
- 1st June 2017, Medica Magazin
Projekt "XoSoft" – Intelligentes ExoSkelett zum Anziehen
Interview mit Markus Wirz auf medica.de
- 30th March 2016, Medienmitteilung ZHAW Gesundheit
ZHAW-Forschende entwickeln intelligente Leggins
- March 2016, ZHAW-Impact
EU Forschung trotz schwieriger Bedingungen
- 16th June 2016, CORDIS
Researchers develop intelligent trousers
- 2017, Swiss Textiles, Above all expectations, Swiss Pavilion Techtextile 2017, S.12
Intelligent leggins for safe movement in daily life
- 17th October 2016, Siliconrepublic
UL scientists to help build ‘smart clothing’ of the future