Development of Power Assist Wear Using Pneumatic Rubber Artificial Muscles
Toshiro Noritsugu, Masahiro Takaiwa, and Daisuke Sasaki
The Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan
In the future, when the average age of the members of society becomes advanced, an innovative technology to assist the activities of daily living of elderly and disabled people and to assist in the heavy work in nursing will be desired. To develop such a technology, an actuator that is safe and user-friendly is required. It should be small, lightweight, and sufficiently soft. Such an actuator is available in artificial muscle made of pneumatic rubber. We have developed some types of pneumatic rubber artificial muscles and applied them to wearable power assist devices. A wearable power assist device is fitted to the human body to assist the power of muscles that support the activities of daily living, rehabilitation, training, and so on.
In this paper, some types of pneumatic rubber artificial muscles developed and manufactured in our laboratory are presented. Furthermore, two kinds of wearable power assist devices driven by the rubber artificial muscles are described. Finally, some evaluations clarify the effectiveness of pneumatic rubber artificial muscle for innovative human assistance technologies.
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