The Design of Wearable Robots for Lower-Extremity Human Augmentation

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Human augmentation will be reviewed in a historical context, from passive and quasi-passive devices to the wearable robots employed commercially today. The particular challenges of lower-extremity augmentation will be described. The design of a biophysically inspired ankle prosthesis will be reviewed with a focus on the mechanical and control system design of the bionic, series-elastic actuator-based, muscle-tendon platform that powers the prosthesis. The path forward for lower-extremity human augmentation devices, including neural integration, will be described. Learning outcomes include: how wearable robots are changing lives; how series-elastic actuators are designed to emulate the positive force-feedback-based reflex response of biological muscle-tendon units; how the reflex response can be customized to restore function in the context of quantifiable, biomechanical norms. About the instructor: For the past 25 years, Rick Casler has led the development and commercialization of robust, high-performance, electro-mechanical systems. These systems span the fields of industrial automation and control, industrial robotics, medical robotics, and microsystem assembly. What's more, these are achieving best-in-class machine cycle time, footprint, and cost. Rick has served in executive positions in both Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial enterprises, including serving as the CEO of Genesis Automation and the Vice President of Engineering of Adept Technology, where he drove development of scalable robotic systems. While the Vice President of Systems Engineering at Intuitive Surgical, he built a quality and reliability infrastructure that increased telesurgical system reliability; he also served as Vice President of Engineering and CTO of Electroglas, where he led the development of a revolutionary wafer probe and microsystem assembly platform that was the first in the industry to employ active vibration cancellation technology. Casler holds B.S.M.E. and M.S.M.E. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA, and an MBA from Pepperdine University, CA, USA. He holds over 25 patents in the fields of dynamic control, signal processing, robotics, and precision platform design. Rick joined BiOM in May 2008.

Human augmentation is reviewed in a historical context, from passive and quasi-passive devices to the wearable robots employed commercially today.

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