IEEE Robotics and Automation Society
IEEE/RAS Technical Committee on Wearable Robotics

Scope
The Wearable Robotics Committee seeks to bring together researchers with interest in the latest technological and scientific advancements achieved in the field of wearable robotic technologies. The Technical Committee (TC) provides a platform for practitioners and researchers to exchange information and resources related to the fields of wearable robots to augment human movement abilities in several sectors, from the enhancement of workforce to movement rehabilitation and motion assistance for disabled and elderly/weak people as well as healthy ones. The proposed TC seeks to gather researchers within the RAS community from different backgrounds to discuss and learn about this highly interdisciplinary field (safety, ergonomics, lightweight efficient actuation, control, autonomy, human-machine interaction, soft robotics, wearable sensors, textile and apparel design, material science). The proposed TC will provide discussions about the state of the art, challenges and limiting factors for developing sustainable wearable robots for assistance, augmentation and rehabilitation of human movements in real-life scenarios. The proposed TC will highlight particularly issues related to novel kinematics and actuation solutions for wearable robots as well as the growing challenges of using novel human-robot multimodal interaction paradigms. Issues related to cognitive/physical human robot interactions, will be also treated. The proposed solutions aimed at promoting include: complete wearability, portability, adaptability, energy harvesting and reliability of the device, as well as user’s safety. Additionally, the proposed TC will also be the platform to promote international initiatives, innovative and/or industrial solutions for the assistance of frail people, which will provide an excellent opportunity to share information and technology transfer between experts from different fields such as medical, social, caregivers and industrials.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Exoskeletons, exosuits, actuated orthoses and prostheses;
  • Supernumerary robotic limbs;
  • Wearable sensors;
  • Soft robotics;
  • Biosignals processing;
  • Neuro-robotics, neuro-prostheses and neuro-rehabilitation;
  • Neurological Disorders and Rehabilitation;
  • Mechatronic design and control of human movements;
  • Cognitive/physical interaction paradigms for wearable robotics;
  • Human–robot multimodal interaction paradigms;
  • Bioinspired design;
  • Human-centered design;
  • Textile and apparel design for wearable robotics;
  • Functional, biomechanical and physiological evaluations
  • Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in wearable robotics.

Motivation
The population aged 60 and over is expected to rise considerably in the coming years. The rise in life expectancy combined with falling birth rates, will accelerate the aging of the population. Understanding and reducing this problem will have a great societal impact by improving the quality of life and allowing people to regain independence making them active in society, and live active, fulfilling and independent lives. On the other hand, robotic applications have rapidly expanded from classical industrial applications with repetitive tasks to applications with close human-robot interaction. Particularly, assistive robotics has gained an increasing attention in the last decades. Indeed, adaptation of healthcare services to the needs of this dependent population will have a great impact on the development of assisting/augmenting robotic devices. In addition, technological advances and the emergence of novel adapted technologies such as wearable and ubiquitous technologies with considerable reduction in size, cost and energy consumption, are becoming a privileged solution to provide assistive services to humans. This challenging technology is expected to work closely, interact and collaborate with people in an intelligent environment.

While initially conceived for human motion augmentation purposes, wearable powered robots have been gradually proposed also as a technological aid for motion rehabilitation and assistance, and functional substitution in patients suffering from motor disorders. Over these years, despite the significant technological and scientific advancements achieved in the field of wearable powered robotic technologies, we have not yet witnessed the success of a fully-wearable powered assistive robotic device, e.g. a robotic suit, which is easy to wear and intuitive to cooperate with.

Chairs and advisors of the TC
We have gathered a group of founding co-chairs and advisors who span all three RAS geographic regions, who are active in the area of Wearable Robots and will lead the establishment of the TC:

  • Samer Mohammed, General co-chair, University of Paris Est Créteil (UPEC), France
  • Juan C. Moreno, Co-chair, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain
  • Thomas Sugar, Co-chair, Arizona State University, USA
  • Yasuhisa Hasegawa, Co-chair, Nagoya University, Japan
  • Nicola Vitiello, Advisor, The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy
  • Conor Walsh, Advisor, Harvard University, USA
  • Qining Wang, Advisor, Peking University, China

We would like to acknoweledge the work of Nicola Vitiello who served as main proposer and contact person with the RAS TAB during the TC proposal preparation

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