Agenda

 

WearRAcon 22

Event

April  24 – 26, 2022

 

 

WearRAcon 22 – Agenda

Sunday, April 24, 2022

2:00pm – 4:00pm Board Meeting
4:00pm – 6:00pm Registration Opens
6:00pm – 7:30pm Welcome Reception

Monday, April 25, 2022

8:00am – 9:00am Registration Opens: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors
9:00am – 9:30am Welcome/Opening Remarks: Joe Hitt, Executive Director, Wearable Robotics Association
9:30am – 10:30am Keynote: Maulik Majmudar, MD, Biofourmis
10:30am – 11:15am Plenary: Sangram Redkar, PhD, Arizona State University
11:15am – 11:30am Break
  Industry Track Medical/Rehab Track
11:30am – 12:30pm B01: Automotive Forum – AExG
Session A. “Infield Evaluation of the Ironhand during Automotive Assembly Tasks”
Ryan Porto, General Motors and Mikael Wester, Bioservo Technologies
Session B. “Predicting which Automotive Assembly Processes will benefit more or less from Exoskeleton Usage”
Jason Gillette, Iowa State University
B02: Medical/Rehab
Levi Hargrove, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Deanna Gates, PhD, Director of the Rehabilitation Biomechanics Laboratory (RBL), University of Michigan, School of Kinesiology
12:30pm – 2:00pm Lunch/Exhibits Sponsored by HeroWear
2:00pm – 3:00pm B03: Automotive Forum (AExG) – Exoskeletons: A Successful Program Starts with Defining the Scope, Testing the Technology, and Building a Comprehensive Plan
David Brodie, Cargill and Matt Marino, HeroWear
B04: Exoskeletons in the Real World
Elliott Rouse, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Tommasso Lenzi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah
3:15pm – 3:45pm Break/Spotlight Demo (Bioservo Technologies)
4:00pm – 5:00pm B05: Adoption of Industrial Exoskeletons – Part 1: Past, Present, and Future of Exoskeletons, an Ottobock and SuitX Perspective
Samuel Reimer, Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons and Logan Van Engelhoven, suitX
B06: Rehabilitation Robotics – A Critical Appraisal
William Zev Rymer, MD, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab / Northwestern University
Gail Forrest, PhD, Kessler Foundation
5:00pm – 6:00pm Sponsor Reception

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

8:00am – 9:00am Registration: Breakfast & Innovation Challenge Q&A
9:00am – 9:45am General Session: EXOWORKATHLON – Results of the First Implementation
Urs Schneider, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
Verena Kopp, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
Mirjam Holl, Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management, University Stuttgart
10:00am – 11:00am Innovation Challenge Presentations
11:00am – 11:30am Break
  Industry Track Medical/Rehab Track
11:30am – 12:30pm B07: Industry Session
Bérenger Le Tellier, ErgoSanté
Gwendolyn Bryan, PhD, The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
Gregory Sawicki, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
B08: Control Framework for Wearable Robotics
Francesco Lanotte, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Brokoslaw Laschowski, PhD, University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
12:30pm – 1:30pm Lunch/Exhibits
1:30pm – 2:30pm B09: Risk Management Forum – Part 1: Panel
Don Peterson, Northern Illinois University
Woody Dwyer, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Michael Hoffmann, Hilti
David Roy, Travelers
Jesse Jacobs, PhD, Liberty Mutual Insurance
B10: Medical/Rehab Robotics
Karen Nolan, PhD, Assistant Director, Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Department, Kessler Foundation
Zachary Lerner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Northern Arizona University, Northern Arizona University and Biomotum, Inc.
2:45pm – 3:45pm B11: Risk Management Forum – Part 2: Open Discussion
Don Peterson, Northern Illinois University
Woody Dwyer, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Michael Hoffmann, Hilti
David Roy, Travelers
Jesse Jacobs, PhD, Liberty Mutual Insurance
B12: Exoskeleton Gait: The Next Frontier of Machine Control
Connor Glass, MD, Founder, Phantom
Kyle Embry, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
3:45pm – 4:15pm Break
4:15pm – 5:15pm B13: Adoption of Industrial Exoskeletons – Part 2
Borislav Marinov, Exoskeleton Report
Matt Marino, HeroWear
Ryan Porto, General Motors
Kirk Stema, Levitate
B14: Designing Controllers for Wearable Robots using Reinforcement Learning, a Step Towards Personalization
Varun Nalam, Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University
Kevin Hollander, APEx
5:30pm – 6:30pm Innovation Challenge Winner/Closing Remarks

Session Descriptions

Sunday, April 24, 2022

6:00pm – 7:30pm: Welcome Reception

Monday, April 25, 2022

8:00am – 9:00am: Registration Opens: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors

9:00am – 9:30am: Welcome/Opening Remarks
Presenter: Joe Hitt, Wearable Robotics Association

9:30am – 10:30am: Keynote
Presenter: Maulik Majmudar, MD, Biofourmis

Wearables in Healthcare: What’s Next?
This keynote presentation will provide an overview of the current applications of wearables in healthcare, including a brief history of wearables and its role in the quantified-self movement. Maulik will also outline opportunities and challenges facing widespread adoption of wearables in medicine, including specific examples of clinical conditions and patient cohorts with the largest unmet need.

10:30am – 11:15am: Plenary Session
Presenter: Sangram Redkar, PhD

In-ear Physiological Sensing and its Applications
Dr. Redkar will discuss design and development of in-ear physiological sensing. Many commercial and DoD funded efforts focused on developing in ear sensor in the past, without much success. With support from AFRL and DTRA, Dr. Redkar’s lab developed an in-ear physiological sensor that can measure heart rate, blood oxygen concentration (SpO2), body temperature and other physiological signals that can be used to detect onset of adverse physiological events like hypoxia, A Fib, stress, fatigue and concussion to mention a few. Dr. Redkar will share the challenges and lessons learnt in development of this sensor. Wearacon attendee’s will have “special” opportunity to evaluate this sensor evaluation units, get digitized ear scans and explore opportunities for integrating this technology in their applications such as ergonomics, healthcare, sports and entrainment.

11:15am – 11:30am: Break

11:30am – 12:30pm: Breakout Sessions

Session B01: Automotive Forum – AExG (Industry Track)

Speakers:
Ryan Porto, General Motors

Mikael Wester, Bioservo Technologies

Jason Gillette, Iowa State University

Part 1 (R. Porto & M. Wester).  “Infield Evaluation of the Ironhand during Automotive Assembly Tasks”
The Ironhand system is an active soft exoskeleton for the hand, designed to improve the health for workers that perform grasp intensive, repetitive, and static work tasks. The solutions derive from the healthcare sector where clinical trials have shown that the soft robotic gloves improve grip strength. Infield Evaluations of the Ironhand has been performed at General Motors vehicle assembly plants in the US and in Canada to evaluate the ability of the Ironhand to reduce the physical demands of operator’s hands while completing automotive assembly work-related tasks. This presentation will give an update of the evaluations and the experiences and conclusions drawn so far.

Part 2 (J. Gillette). “Predicting which Automotive Assembly Processes will benefit more or less from Exoskeleton Usage”
Electromyography can be utilized with ACGIH threshold limit values to assess if an exoskeleton reduces fatigue risk. This presentation focuses on identifying automotive assembly processes that benefit more or less from upper body exoskeleton usage. Factors such as arm postures, duration in postures, and tool/part handling are explored. In addition, the ability of a predictive model driven by lab-based data is compared to results collected in the field. Illustrative examples from assembly processes at Toyota will be presented and discussed.

Session B02: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Levi Hargrove, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Deanna Gates, PhD, Director of the Rehabilitation Biomechanics Laboratory (RBL), University of Michigan, School of Kinesiology

Part 1 (L. Hargrove) Applying Tools from Deep Learning to Control Bionic Leg Prostheses
Powered assistive robots enable disabled individuals to complete a variety of different ambulation activities. However, proper control of these devices requires that they identify and respond to user intent. Commonly, finite state-machines are used as tools to create hierarchical control systems. Here we use tools drawn from the field of deep-learning, coupled with recently published benchmark datasets, to learn control systems that provide ambulation with seamless and automatic transitions, without imposing a finite state-machine. The control system was used across a range of ambulation activities and included seamless transitions between activities, and evaluate how the control systems can generalize across users and devices.

Part 2 (D. Gates): Optimizing Upper Limb Function Through Neurally Controlled Prostheses
People with upper limb loss have difficulty completing activities of daily living with their prosthesis and often abandon prosthetic use altogether.  The high rate of abandonment has continued in spite of recent advances in prostheses that look more like anatomic hands and allow for multiple grasps.  This talk will focus on several of our recent and ongoing projects characterizing embodiment, biomechanics, and sensory feedback with existing prosthetic technology, and exploring what people with upper limb loss want in future designs.  The talk will also highlight our recent work in controlling upper limb prostheses and providing sensory feedback through direct connections with human nerves.

 

12:30pm – 2:00pm: Lunch & Exhibits Sponsored by HeroWear

2:00 – 3:00pm: Breakout Sessions

Session B03: Automotive Forum (AExG) – “Exoskeletons: A Successful Program Starts with Defining the Scope, Testing the Technology, and Building a Comprehensive Plan” (Industry Track)

Speakers:

David Brodie, Cargill

Matt Marino, HeroWear

 

The session will provide an overview of the steps an organization should consider as it begins to look at using exoskeletons in its workplace(s).  Starting from square one, attendees will learn how to review the conditions in their location to make the first, important decision on whether exoskeletons are the right solution to consider.  Once a business decides to work with exos, the next few steps of testing the technology and building an implementation plan become critical steps for success.  This session will illustrate this flow of decisions, bringing forth the perspective of a new adopter and an experienced implementer to provide a comprehensive plan for making good decisions about exoskeletons.

 

Session B04: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Elliott Rouse, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Tommasso Lenzi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah

Part 1 (E. Rouse) Success and Viability of Augmentative Exoskeletons
The control and assessment of modern exoskeletons are two factors that greatly hinder the translation of these exciting technologies. To assist their wearer, exoskeletons employ control strategies that govern their assistance. The tuning of controller parameters that govern exoskeleton assistance is a laborious process that can require specialized researchers or equipment. In this talk, I will describe our approach to controller tuning that leverages user preference as an effective, expedient, and convenient tuning methodology. I will discuss results of a recent experiment where we quantified user preferred controller settings and their selection consistency. We allowed subjects to blindly search for their preferred controller settings using a two-dimensional touchpad while wearing bilateral ankle exoskeletons. We quantified how user preference and consistency varied across speeds, sessions, and experience level. Secondly, I will discuss a recent study where we quantified the human perceptual ability to perceive changes in their metabolic rate during exoskeleton assisted locomotion. Metabolic rate is a common metric of success for exoskeleton technologies, but the degree to which humans can perceive these changes is unknown, and important for decision making and adoption. In this study, participants experienced a metabolic rate that resulted from ankle exoskeleton assistance. The participant’s metabolic rates were manipulated by carefully shifting the assistance provided by the exoskeleton. Participants responded to whether they experienced an increased or decreased metabolic rate for different assistance settings; these data were aggregated to determine their perceptual threshold. I will show that the perception threshold for metabolic rate is greater than what is currently achievable with modern exoskeletons. Finally, I will close by highlighting new work that investigates the value added by lower-limb exoskeletons using tools from behavioral economics.

Part 2 (T. Lenzi): Moving Bionic Legs from the Lab to the Real World
Bionic technologies present a unique opportunity to address the unmet needs of millions of individuals with physical disabilities. Critical to this goal is the development of mechatronic technologies and control systems that intuitively interact with the human, ultimately leading to a symbiotic human-machine interaction.

In this presentation, Dr. Lenzi will:

– Present novel design frameworks empowering lightweight, compact, and high-performance robotic leg prostheses and exoskeletons.

– Introduce adaptive, volitional control strategies enabling bionic legs to assist users with gait and functional mobility.

– Review preclinical trials with individuals with lower-limb impairments.

– Discuss critical areas of future research that must be advanced to move bionic legs from the lab to the real world.

This presentation will describe research activities underway to advance the science of bionics.

3:15pm – 3:45pm: Break | Spotlight Demo: Bioservo Technologies

4:00pm – 5:00pm Breakout Sessions

B05: Past, Present, and Future of Exoskeletons – An Ottobock/suitX Perspective (Industry Track)

Speakers:
Samuel Reimer, Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons
Logan Van Engelhoven, suitX

Ottobock and suitX will discuss the history behind their respective exoskeleton businesses and how these unique perspectives have led to the recent acquisition. They will lay out the vision for the new suitX innovation hub and how the two teams will work together to develop future exoskeleton products. The first release of the partnership, the new Ottobock shoulder, will be demonstrated along with a description of the improvements it brings to the current industrial shoulder exoskeleton landscape.

B06: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
William Zev Rymer, MD, PhD, Director, Research Planning Engineering in Neuroscience | Sensory Motor Performance Program (SMPP), Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Gail Forrest, PhD, Director, Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research | Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation, Kessler Foundation

Part 1 (W. Zev Rymer): Rehabilitation Robotics – A Critical Appraisal
Rehabilitation robotics has been utilized for the treatment of human spinal cord injury and stroke for more than 20 years.  Over that interval, the technology has improved progressively, and it is now robust, reliable and safe. There have also been progressive improvements in ease of use, implementation speed and accessibility for clinicians and for non-technical staff. In spite of these progressive improvements, there is still not widespread use in most rehabilitation hospitals.

This presentation well address some of the reasons for this limited progress and will proposed new approaches that may help improve outcomes and that may result in more widespread acceptance of robotic technology.

Part 2 (G. Forrest)

 

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Sponsor Reception

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

8:00am – 9:00am: Registration: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors

9:00am – 9:50am: General Session: EXOWORKATHLON – Results of the First Implementation

Presenters:
Urs Schneider, Fraunhofer IPA
Verena Kopp, Fraunhofer IPA
Mirjam Holl, Fraunhofer IPA

The first implementation of the EXOWORKATHLON was executed in Germany, in autumn 2021. The four defined Parcours included realistic use cases from logistics, automotive assembly, welding, and construction work. Corresponding assessment methods were defined and used to neutrally evaluate exoskeletons in their entirety. In this speech, we will present the first results and execute EXOWORKATHLON Parcour 1 Logistic.

The test subjects work for one hour – once with and once without exoskeleton. Subjective effort during the task is evaluated with a questionnaire. At the end, feedback on the usability and wearing comfort of the exoskeleton is collected. In February 2022, Parcour 3 – Exoskeletons for the upper limb during welding was performed with additional test subjects in Hamburg, Germany. The preliminary results for both parcours from 2022 will be presented.

10:00am – 11:00am: Innovation Challenge Finalist Presentation

11:00am – 11:30am: Break

11:30am – 12:30pm Breakout Sessions

Breakout 07: Industry Track

Speakers:
Bérenger Le Tellier, PhD, Scientific Manager, ErgoSanté

Gwendolyn Bryan, PhD, The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

Gregory Sawicki, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

Part 1 (B. Le Tellier): From 0 to 1500 Exoskeletons in 2 years: How to Improve Workers’ Quality of Life Worldwide Without the Help of Fundraising?
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a real burden in the professional world, leading to direct and indirect impacts for both workers and companies. Physical assistance devices such as exoskeletons exist to reduce MSDs related to non-ergonomic postures or heavy loads carrying. In December 2021, more than 172 exoskeletons models were referenced worldwide by the Exoskeleton Report. Despite the compelling need for cost-effective solutions to prevent MSDs, and the wide offer of assistance devices, the broad deployment of exoskeletons in the industry is an exception. This can be explained by the lack of knowledge about the impact of the exoskeletons in the medium/long term, the difficulties in morphology adaptability (especially for women or workers who have medical restrictions), the absence of standards covering all the aspects of exoskeletons, the changes in work conditions, the price, etc. Knowing that currently it is highly challenging to have a device able to adapt to all workers’ morphologies, how can we provide a practical solution to most people, whom their health conditions are deteriorating at work due to MSDs? Based on figures from the field, a deep reflection has been carried out to identify 5 key traits to help manufacturers develop affordable exoskeletons adapted to the industrial reality.

Part 2 (G. Bryan & G. Sawicki): Biomechanics-informed Exoskeleton Development for DOE Relevant Tasks
Department of Energy (DOE) workers regularly perform lifting and carrying tasks with heavy personal protective equipment (PPE) and often in asymmetric loading scenarios. These tasks can lead to acute and chronic fatigue that too often result in traumatic or overuse injuries to workers’ soft tissues and joints. The lower-back and knees are a common locus of injury. Wearable devices, such as exoskeletons that could reduce workers’ joint and muscle loading in the field, have great potential to reduce fatigue and prevent overuse injuries – but where on the body, when in a movement task,  and how much to assist is still unclear. A formal analysis of the biomechanics of DOE relevant tasks could identify ‘hot spots’ in the lower-limb to guide useful intervention strategies. Identifying movement signatures that cause extreme biomechanical demands remains difficult because non-invasively estimating in vivo joint and muscle loading outside a lab setting is a challenge. In this talk, we will share our collaborative research aimed at using wearable systems to prevent injury during field-relevant DOE tasks.  At Georgia Tech, with guidance from Sandia National Labs, we have developed a unique in-lab framework to obtain detailed measures of human neuromechanics and energetics over a proxy movement task space that mimics in-field DOE carrying and lifting tasks. From these experiments, we will share preliminary results showing how data-driven simulations can estimate lower-back and knee joint contact forces and use them to identify movement signatures that produce unsafe biomechanical loads. Second, we will share results aimed at establishing the efficacy of a suite of wearable robots including the HeroWear back exoskeleton, custom knee exoskeletons and the Dephy ankle exoskeletons to reduce metabolic, neural and biomechanical effort over the same set of proxy DOE tasks. Finally, with collaborators at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC),  we are developing a novel multi-joint wearable robotic device (Eva) that aims to take insight from our experiments to build upon the successes and avoid the failures of current state-of-the-art exoskeletons while reducing effort, fatigue and injuries in DOE workers in the field.

 

B08: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Francesco Lanotte, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Brokoslaw Laschowski, PhD, University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Part 1 (F. Lanotte): Adaptive Dynamic Movement Primitives, a Control Framework for Wearable Robotics
To date, exoskeleton controllers have excelled in rhythmic and quasi-rhythmic tasks, whereas control methods for assisting discrete movements remain limited by their task-specificity. Inspired by neurophysiological dynamic movement primitives (DMPs), this presentation describes a novel controller based on a single adaptive DMP (aDMP), for wearable robotic assistance of discrete movements. The proposed aDMP-based control method can be potentially used in all domains of wearable robotics, enabling the possibility to provide functional and synchronous assistance to a great variety of movements. Its use in wearable robotics for human augmentation (specifically, assisting a user in load lifting tasks) is illustrated to prove the level of versatility of the aDMP controller.

Part 2 (B. Laschowski): Computer Vision for Environment-Adaptive Control of Wearable Robotics
Robotic lower-limb exoskeletons can replace the propulsive function of impaired biological muscles and allow users with mobility impairments to perform daily locomotor activities that require power generation (e.g., climbing stairs). However, the current locomotion mode recognition systems being developed for automated control and decision-making rely on mechanical, inertial, and/or neuromuscular sensors, which inherently have limited prediction horizons (i.e., analogous to walking blindfolded). In this talk, Dr. Laschowski will present his research on the development of bioinspired environment recognition systems powered by computer vision and deep learning to predict the walking environment prior to physical interactions, therein allowing for more accurate and robust high-level control decisions. Overall, this environment recognition research using state-of-the-art convolutional neural networks serves to improve the automated control and decision-making of next-generation robotic lower-limb exoskeletons for daily locomotor assistance and rehabilitation.

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch & Exhibits

1:30pm – 2:30pm: Breakout Sessions

B09: Risk Management Forum – Part 1: Panel (Industry Track)

Speakers:
Don Peterson, Northern Illinois University
Woody Dwyer, Director of Loss Control, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Michael Hoffmann, Hilti
David Roy, Travelers
Jesse Jacobs, PhD, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Exoskeleton technologies aim to provide opportunities to increase human safety and efficiency in industrial, emergency response, medical, military, and consumer applications. This session will provide a lively discussion and Q&A on risk management aspects of safety, quality, performance, ergonomics, etc., including acceptability, deployment and sustainability, and value brought to various operations.

B10: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Karen Nolan, PhD, Assistant Director, Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Department, Kessler Foundation
Zachary Lerner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Northern Arizona University, Northern Arizona University and Biomotum, Inc.

Part 1 (K. Nolan)

Part 2 (Z. Lerner): Medical/Rehab Robotics
This talk will highlight Dr. Lerner’s recent research on the design and control of a versatile wearable ankle exoskeleton to improve mobility for individuals with disabilities. Topics will include advances in electromechanical device design for better battery life, pediatric usability testing, and walking performance evaluations across a range of locomotor conditions in individuals with neurological impairments.

2:45pm – 3:45pm: Breakout Sessions

B11: Risk Management Forum – Part 2: Open Discussion (Industry Track)

Speakers:
Don Peterson, Northern Illinois University
Woody Dwyer, Director of Loss Control, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Michael Hoffmann, Hilti
David Roy, Travelers
Jesse Jacobs, PhD, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Exoskeleton technologies aim to provide opportunities to increase human safety and efficiency in industrial, emergency response, medical, military, and consumer applications. This session will provide a lively discussion and Q&A on risk management aspects of safety, quality, performance, ergonomics, etc., including acceptability, deployment and sustainability, and value brought to various operations.

B12: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Conor Glass, MD, Founder, Phantom
Kyle Embry, PhD, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Part 1 (C. Glass): The Next Frontier of Machine Control
For decades we have had robotic orthopedic technologies, such as prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons, that promised to recreate or surpass human limb function. Poor outcomes in limb-injury patient populations drove innovation in robotics that ultimately led to the existence of modern day prosthetics and exoskeletons. While these robotic technologies have dramatically improved in technical capability over time, we have not seen a paralleled improvement in patient outcomes at scale. Much of this disconnect is due to the inability of humans to efficiently harness the full capabilities of these technologies. Humanity is still in need of a high throughput communication link between ourselves and machines that is efficient, effective, and safe in a real-world environment. Significant effort has been put into demonstrating lifelike control of machines within the lab, with impressive results, but little focus has been placed on the commercial potential and real-world feasibility of this research. What little focus has been placed on commercialization has been dominated by brain-directed systems that are inherently limited in application due to risk and hesitation. Phantom is creating a muscle-directed implantable human-machine interfacing system that seeks to translate the advancements demonstrated in the lab into the general population at scale.

Part 2 (K. Embry): Exoskeleton Gait: How Human and Exoskeleton Kinematics Differ
Wearable lower body exoskeletons, like most robots, rely on sensor measurements of their joints and segments to directly monitor and control motion. Generally, it is assumed that the human body’s pose will exactly match the pose of the exoskeleton, meaning that control of the robot will equate to control of human limbs and gait. However, this assumption can break down because of compliant elements of the robot or human body, misalignment of joint centers, and extraneous subject motion within the exoskeleton. In this 13 subject pilot study, we will investigate the differences in robot and human body poses for both healthy and neurologically impaired users, and propose potential solutions to mitigate these complications.

3:45pm – 4:15pm: Break

4:15pm – 5:15pm: Breakout Sessions

Breakout 13: Adoption of Exoskeletons in Industry Panel (Industry Track)

Speakers:
Borislav Marinov, Exoskeleton Report
Matt Marino, HeroWear
Ryan Porto, General Motors
Kirk Stema, Levitate Technologies Inc.

Breakout 14: Medical/Rehab

Speakers:
Varun Nalam, Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University
Kevin Hollander, APEx

Part 1 (V. Nalam): Designing Controllers for Wearable Robots using Reinforcement Learning, a Step Towards Personalization
Robotic prosthetics and exoskeletons provide several benefits over traditional approaches for people with mobility challenges caused by amputation or neurological diseases. Since the effect of these disorders on gait and balance of each individual is varied and unpredictable, developing controllers for these robots to suit individual needs is a major challenge. The presenter will introduce recent advancements of their research group in addressing these challenges through implementation of reinforcement learning based adaptive controllers in prosthetics and exoskeletons. The evolution of the control concept, implementation in prosthetics and exoskeletons, its impact in transfemoral amputee populations and future directions will be discussed.

5:30pm – 6:30pm: Innovation Challenge Winner/Closing Remarks