Balance performance of humans

Balance Augmentation in Locomotion, through Anticipative, Natural and Cooperative control of Exoskeletons.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 601003, for the period 2013-01-01 to 2017-07-31

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Project / Structure

BALANCE is organized as a 4 year Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP), because of the essential importance of human experiments, adjustment of hardware to project needs, and the core development of highly novel control for human cooperative postural control, which together require a specific flow of information, as reflected in the figure below. The organization and the relationships between the different work packages, and the basic information flows are shown in the figures.

The core content of each Work Package is the following:

Work Package 1 (Project Management and Coordination) contains all the tasks that deal with the coordination and management of all project activities.

Work Package 2 (Postural Balance Mechanisms in Human Gait) investigates how humans achieve a robust postural stability, through experiments and model efforts. The identified mechanisms, that contain reactive and anticipative components, such as foot placement and stiffness adaptation, will form the basis for the exoskeleton controller development in WP4 and 5.

Work Package 3 (Balance Monitoring in Functional Walking) develops the sensing system that will continuously monitor the postural balance state of the human wearing the exoskeleton, and perform early detection of specific functional gait actions.

Work Package 4 (Robust and Flexible Interaction Control) assesses and manages the fact that the human-exoskeleton system contains two controllers, the human and the robot, that have to cooperate and mutually adapt. This results in an adaptive controller that can vary the degree of support according to scenario of use, such as "support" or "training".

Work Package 5 (System Implementation, Integration and Evaluation) integrates the developed sensor and controller hardware and methods on the Hercule exoskeleton robot. This work package also contains the evaluation and demonstration of the final system on healthy subjects.

Work Package 6 (Dissemination and Exploitation) deals with the dissemination and exploitation of the results of the project to different targets, such as the international scientific community, industry, and the general public.

Work Package 7 (Postural Balance in Neurologically Impaired Gait) deals with studying how neurological patients maintain their postural balance and how they can be assisted as needed by an exoskeleton through applying and adapting the control strategies developed in the WP2,3 and 4.

Consortium

Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Spain) Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany) University of Twente (Netherlands) CEA list (France) Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (Switzerland) Imperial College London (United Kingdom) Xsens: 3D motion tracking (Netherlands) University Rehabilitation Institute (Republic of Slovenia)