Passive lower back moment support in a wearable lifting aid: Counterweight versus springs

Ralph J.L. Macke, Arvid Q.L. Keemink*, Arno H.A. Stienen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    Passive wearable lifting aids support workers by applying gravity force compensation at the arms. In this study we investigated the feasibility of a compensatory lower back moment, generated by a practically constant spring force (38.5 Nm), extending the lower back by pushing on the upper leg. This design is proposed as a light-weight solution to generate lower back moments. The method is compared to using counterweights at a different distances. We recorded EMG activity of the erector spinae longissimus (ES) muscle, the perceived workload (NASA TLX) and the preference of 12 subjects. Results showed no significant difference in ES peak EMG activity during the task, and no significant difference between perceived workload between conditions, as we expected. However, 10 out of 12 subjects indicated preferring the spring mechanism over both counterweights. The main reason of preference was the reduction of weight and inertia of the system. Therefore, the proposed constant spring force mechanism is a feasible alternative to counterweights.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWearable Robotics
    Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Trends: Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Wearable Robotics, WeRob2016, October 18-21, 2016, Segovia, Spain
    EditorsJose Gonzalez-Vargas, Jaime Ibanez, Jose L. Contreras-Vidal, Herman van der Kooij, Jose Luis Pons
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-46531-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event2nd International Symposium on Wearable Robotics, WeRob 2016 - La Granja, Spain
    Duration: 18 Oct 201621 Oct 2016
    Conference number: 2

    Publication series

    NameBiosystems and Biorobotics
    ISSN (Print)21953562
    ISSN (Electronic)21953570


    Conference2nd International Symposium on Wearable Robotics, WeRob 2016
    Abbreviated titleWeRob
    CityLa Granja
    Internet address


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