Exo-Abs: A Wearable Robotic System Inspired by Human Abdominal Muscles for Noninvasive and Effort-Synchronized Respiratory Assistance

Sang Yoep Lee, Jin Oh Hahn, Jaewon Beom, Ji Hong Park, Han Eol Cho, Seong Woong Kang, Kyu Jin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Existing technologies for patients with respiratory insufficiency have focused on providing reliable assistance in their breathing. However, the need for assistance in other everyday respiratory functions, such as coughing and speaking, has remained unmet in these patients. Here, we propose Exo-Abs, a wearable robotic system that can universally assist wide-ranging respiratory functions by applying compensatory force to a user's abdomen in synchronization with their air usage. Inspired by how human abdominal muscles transmit pressure to the lungs via abdominal cavity compression, a biomechanically interactive platform was developed to optimally utilize the abdominal compression while aligning the assistance with a user's spontaneous respiratory effort. In addition to the compact form factor, thorough analytic procedures are described as initial steps toward taking the human respiratory system into the scope of robotics technology. We demonstrate the validity of the overall human-system interaction with the assistance performance under three essential respiratory functions: breathing, coughing, and speaking. Our results show that the system can significantly improve the performance of all these functions by granting on-demand and self-reliant assistance to its users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2994-3014
Number of pages21
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Assistive technology
  • biologically inspired robots
  • biomedical engineering
  • human-robot augmentation
  • physical human-robot interaction
  • rehabilitation robotics

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