Conor Walsh, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Why are robots useful?
- Safety – exploring Fukushima
- Efficiency – Tesla factories
- Exploration – Mars
But in these cases, they aren’t working with people – they are isolated.
Conor discussed how there is often a trade-off, with the more assistive a device is, the more restrictive it is.
Conor moved on to talk about how textile use might change this.
Soft Exosuit for Gait Rehabilitation
Focusing on the ankle joint, the textile lightweight structure is on the leg, with heavier components on the hips. Also has sensors to integrate and respond to the person.
Partnering with Re-walk Robotics to commercialise this.
Soft Devices for the Upper Extremity
Useful for stroke patients, spinal cord injury, ALS.
Instead of using motors and cables, they are looking to use inflatable materials – eg stretchy textiles, with balloons within – you can get various structure depending on the structure of the material.
Also showed an awesome example of a shoulder accentuator.
To detect how people are moving. Silicone-textile hybrid sensors are highly flexible and resilient, making them excellent candidates for sensing body movement. More here.
Various materials at their site: http://www.softroboticstoolkit.com
Competitions every year + instructional materials as well as workshops and outreach.