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The-state-of-the-art of soft robotics to assist mobility: A review of physiotherapist and patient identified limitations of current lower-limb exoskeletons and the potential soft-robotic solutions

Morris, Leah; Diteesawat, Richard S.; Rahman, Nahian; Turton, Ailie; Cramp, Mary; Rossiter, Jonathan

The-state-of-the-art of soft robotics to assist mobility: A review of physiotherapist and patient identified limitations of current lower-limb exoskeletons and the potential soft-robotic solutions Thumbnail


Authors

Leah Morris

Richard S. Diteesawat

Nahian Rahman

Ailie Turton Ailie.Turton@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

Mary Cramp Mary.Cramp@uwe.ac.uk
School Director of Research and Enterprise

Jonathan Rossiter



Abstract

Background: Soft, wearable, powered exoskeletons are novel devices that may assist rehabilitation, allowing users to walk further or carry out activities of daily living. However, soft robotic exoskeletons, and the more commonly used rigid exoskeletons, are not widely adopted clinically. The available evidence highlights a disconnect between the needs of exoskeleton users and the engineers designing devices. This review aimed to explore the literature on physiotherapist and patient perspectives of the longer-standing, and therefore greater evidenced, rigid exoskeleton limitations. It then offered potential solutions to these limitations, including soft robotics, from an engineering standpoint. Methods: A state-of-the-art review was carried out which included both qualitative and quantitative research papers regarding patient and/or physiotherapist perspectives of rigid exoskeletons. Papers were themed and themes formed the review’s framework. Results: Six main themes regarding the limitations of soft exoskeletons were important to physiotherapists and patients: safety; a one-size-fits approach; ease of device use; weight and placement of device; cost of device; and, specific to patients only, appearance of the device. Potential soft-robotics solutions to address these limitations were offered, including compliant actuators, sensors, suit attachments fitting to user’s body, and the use of control algorithms. Conclusions: It is evident that current exoskeletons are not meeting the needs of their users. Solutions to the limitations offered may inform device development. However, the solutions are not infallible and thus further research and development is required.

Citation

Morris, L., Diteesawat, R. S., Rahman, N., Turton, A., Cramp, M., & Rossiter, J. (2023). The-state-of-the-art of soft robotics to assist mobility: A review of physiotherapist and patient identified limitations of current lower-limb exoskeletons and the potential soft-robotic solutions. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 20(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-022-01122-3

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Dec 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 30, 2023
Publication Date Jan 30, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 30, 2023
Journal Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 1743-0003
Electronic ISSN 1743-0003
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 18
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-022-01122-3
Keywords Health Informatics; Rehabilitation; Mobility, Patient, Therapist, Exoskeleton, Assistive device, Soft robotics
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/10394187
Publisher URL https://jneuroengrehab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12984-022-01122-3

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The-state-of-the-art of soft robotics to assist mobility: a review of physiotherapist and patient identified limitations of current lower-limb exoskeletons and the potential soft-robotic solutions (1.1 Mb)
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Licence
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.









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