UnOrthoDOKS: Unibody Orthotic Device for Osteoarthritis Knee Support
90 million people worldwide suffer from a painful and incurable knee disease called osteoarthritis. To help ease the pain, Danish Shaikh at SDU Biorobotics has developed a 3D printed modular knee brace that adapts for comfort and bends away during knee contraction to allow for cooling
Preliminary tests indicate that the UnOrthoDOKS knee brace provides dynamic support that encourages knee rehabilitation patients to exercise as compared to ordinary and passive knee braces and that it feels more comfortable to wear. The brace was also awarded at this year's Wearable Robotics Association Conference 2020 Innovation Challenge. This research was covered in the media by ExoskeletonReport.com, a leading organisation specialising in wearable robotics and exoskeleton technology.
Modular exoskeletons for multifunctional training
Exoskeletons have been proven as an effective means of physical training (e.g., patients’ rehabilitation). However, most existing training exoskeletons are still heavy (> 1 kg), expensive (hardware cost > 500 EUR), and single-functional (i.e., assist-as-needed). To tackle the problems, we develop lightweight (<0.5 kg) and cheap (hardware cost < 400 EUR) modular (i.e., elbow and finger) exoskeletons and their rehabilitation-as-needed (RAN) controller. The exoskeletons and controller enable patients and healthy humans to perform multifunctional (i.e., assist- and resist-as-needed) training.
The next version of the UnOrthoDOKS brace is expected to have a mixture of hard and soft materials for better comfort and adaptability, a powered actuation system that allows finer and tailored control of the brace and a 2-stage machine-learning driven control system for subject-specific adaptation. The ultimate goal is to develop a fully soft, 3D printed brace with spatially variable stiffness.
Multimodal and modular exoskeletons for home-based training. Multimodal sensory feedback (e.g., EEG and EMG) will be integrated into the developed modular exoskeletons, providing a quantitative assessment for home-based training.