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Special Applied Mechanics Seminar: Soft Wearable Robots for Everyday Wear


It is exciting to imagine a future when we can use wearable robots to increase strength or efficiency, restore or repair ability after injury or prevent injuries from happening in the first place. This vision is currently challenging to achieve due to limitations in current technology and a lack of understanding of how humans will respond to physical assistance. This talk will give an overview of our work on developing disruptive soft wearable robot technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance and what we have learned from biomechanical and physiological studies that furthers the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. Our efforts are the result of a multidisciplinary team of students and research staff with backgrounds in engineering, materials science, apparel design, industrial design, biomechanics, and physical therapy, in addition to valuable collaborations with colleagues from Harvard, Boston University, and beyond. Our long-term vision is for ubiquitous soft wearable robots that can be worn all day, every day underneath clothing, in both the community, home, sporting and workplace environments. This would enable a change in the paradigm of how we currently assist mobility for those with physical impairments (i.e. replacing plastic braces with active assistance), and how we rehabilitate those after injury (i.e. training programs outside of a clinic environment) as well as how we protect healthy individuals with physical tasks (i.e. protecting military personnel, athletes or factory workers performing high risk tasks).

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