Soft wearable robots for the community and the home
The goal of this talk is to highlight recent and growing efforts in the field of soft wearable robotics and discuss how this technologies may be used in a variety of contexts. This rapidly emerging field of soft robotics presents a new opportunity to develop a new class of wearable assistive technology optimized for the needs of individuals with residual capacity, i.e. where only small to moderate levels of assistance is needed to improve function. The technical requirements for actuation, human interface, and sensors/control needed to realize soft wearable robots are fundamentally different than those for rigid exoskeletons, necessitating fundamental technological development in areas of actuation, sensing, flexible electronics, control and system integration.
We present this technology in two application areas, for stroke and spinal cord injury for both the upper and lower extremity and highlight that by leveraging the capabilities of soft robotics, systems can be developed that are suitable for the home and community environment.
Conor Walsh is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. He is the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, apparel, clinical and business communities to develop new disruptive robotic technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance. This research includes new approaches to the design, manufacture and control of wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies so as to further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. Example application areas include enhancing the ability of healthy individuals, restoring the capabilities of patients with physical impairments. His research group his highly translation focused and actively engages with industry with multiple technologies having already been licensed.
He is passionate about educating future innovators and promoting STEM fields and with colleagues launched the Soft Robotics Toolkit (www.softroboticstoolkit.com), an open source resource to promote and disseminate materials for soft robotics. He is the winner of multiple awards including the MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 Award, IEEE Early Academic Career Award in Robotics and Automation, the Rolex Award for Enterprise, Popular Science Brilliant 10, National Science Foundation Career Award, the Robotics Business Review Next Generation Game Changer Award and the MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition Grand Prize. Conor received his undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.
- Informed public
- Distinguished Lectures in Neuroprosthetics; https://cnp.epfl.ch/dln
- Host: Prof. John Donoghue