Wearable Power Assist Device for Standing Up Motion Using Pneumatic Rubber Artificial Muscles
Toshiro Noritsugu*, Daisuke Sasaki*, Masafumi Kameda**,
Atsushi Fukunaga***, and Masahiro Takaiwa*
*The Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, 3-1-1 Tsushimanaka, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
**Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., 1-1 Kawasaki, Akashi, Hyogo 673-8666, Japan
***Welding System Department, Welding Company, Kobe Steel, Ltd., 100-1 Miyamae, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-8551, Japan
As society ages and birth rates fall, the dropping number of caregivers for an increasingly elderly population is expected to become a serious problem, raising the need for devices to assist those having difficulty in leading independent lives. These devices must be used near or directly on their users, making safety and user-friendliness equally important. This raises the need for safe, user-friendly actuators that are compact, lightweight, and appropriately soft. The pneumatic rubber artificial muscle meets this requirement. We developed a wearable power assist device that aids people in standing and uses the McKibben pneumatic rubber artificial muscle. We discuss its structure, basic features, and control. We also present an example of its application to rehabilitation.
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