Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-02202020-143918

Type of thesis
Wearable robotics for the industry: control and assessment of exoskeletons with the human in the loop
Scientific disciplinary sector
Istituto di Biorobotica
Istituto di Biorobotica - BIOROBOTICS
relatore Prof. VITIELLO, NICOLA
Tutor Dott.ssa CREA, SIMONA
  • wearable robotics
  • industrial exoskeletons
  • workers assistance
Exam session start date
Work-related musculoskeletal (WMSDs) disorders are one of the main challenges of modern industrialized society, affecting about three out of five workers in Europe. European enterprises have put in place several measures to improve the health conditions of their workers, adopting solutions to prevent or reduce the impact of WMSDs. In the recent years, one of the emerging approach is that of using wearable robots and exoskeletons to support the workers in physically demanding work. A wearable robot is a mechatronic system, which operates in close interaction with the human body. Wearable robots are used in several applications, from the medical and rehabilitation scenario, to the assistance in daily living activities, to the worker assistance in factories. The main objective of this thesis is the development and experimental verification of control strategies for active exoskeletons and the experimental assessment of a semi-passive exoskeleton, both conceived for industrial applications. Two different industrial applications of exoskeletons will be considered, namely the load lifting and the overhead work. As it regards the load lifting scenario, different lift detection algorithms and assistive strategies for an active exoskeleton will be presented, along with their performance and effectiveness evaluation with the human in the loop. As it regards the overhead work scenario, the experimental evaluation of a semi-passive upper-limb exoskeleton will be presented. In addition, since it is fundamental to test industrial exoskeletons in real environments, namely at the factory shop-floor, two preliminary studies will be presented, reporting the activities done in two multinational enterprises, namely Royo and Airbus. Finally, a discussion about the need for common methodologies and metrics to evaluate industrial exoskeletons will be discussed.