School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology

A soft wearable robot for knee-rehabilitation

Project Title:      

A soft wearable robot for knee-rehabilitation

Supervisor(s):

Ibrahim Sultan and Steve Wilcox

Possible collaborators:  

Human Movement and Ballarat Base Hospital

Possible commercialisation with an industrial partner

Contact person and email address:

Ibrahim Sultan: i.sultan@federation.edu.au

A brief description of the project:

The knee is one of the weakest joints in a human body due to its easily detachable structure.  Loss of mobility is possible to occur to this joint due to injuries or other health problems. To restore mobility to a knee joint, physio therapeutical exercises are required.  In this project, a robotic structure is to be proposed and built with muscle-like joints powered by soft actuators (e.g. flexible pneumatic motors) which are connected in a manner that produces motions similar to what a human leg can produce.  The proposed robot would be manufactured of soft structure which is created to wear around the knee joint and leg in order for the training process to be facilitated.

The proposed project will feature the following challenges (which will require skills in mathematical modelling, programming, design and testing):

  1. The actuator linearity near the working ranges.
  2. The dynamic response of the robotic structure should lend itself to being tailored to match the patient’s physical abilities and recovery level.
  3. The mathematical models should lend themselves to real time controlled-response to varying inputs
  4. The stiffness of the joints should be able to vary in relation to applied loads and motion ranges.
  5. The robotic structure should be provided with adequate sensing elements to provide information to the medical staff on the condition of the patient knee and supporting muscles