Investigating change of discomfort during repetitive force exertion though an exoskeleton cuff

Jule Bessler-Etten*, Leendert Schaake, Jaap H. Buurke, Gerdienke B. Prange-Lasonder

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article investigates discomfort development for forces exerted repetitively and for extended durations through a rigid cuff. Three force patterns, chosen to mimic exoskeleton use, were applied to the thigh of 15 healthy participants for 30 min. Changes in perceived comfort and skin effects were recorded. Discomfort was detected at normal forces ranging from 40 to >230 N. Repetitive force application triggered discomfort after a median of 4.1 min (normal force only) and 5.4 min (normal and shear force) respectively. Discomfort increased over time but the repetitive force applications did generally not result in pain and there were no significant differences between repetitive loading patterns. Exoskeleton design and use should be informed by comfort thresholds specific to prolonged repetitive loading. Large interindividual differences in perception of discomfort limit the possibilities for generally applicable comfort thresholds. Further research is needed to investigate how patient groups perceive such repetitive loading.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104055
Number of pages10
JournalApplied ergonomics
Early online date18 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • 2024 OA procedure
  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • physical human-robot interaction
  • safety
  • comfort
  • exoskeleton

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