Relevance of hazards in exoskeleton applications: a survey-based enquiry

Stefano Massardi, David Pinto-Fernandez, Jan Babič, Miha Dežman, Andrej Trošt, Victor Grosu, Dirk Lefeber, Carlos Rodriguez, Jule Bessler, Leendert Schaake, Gerdienke Prange-Lasonder, Jan F. Veneman, Diego Torricelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Exoskeletons are becoming the reference technology for assistance and augmentation of human motor functions in a wide range of application domains. Unfortunately, the exponential growth of this sector has not been accompanied by a rigorous risk assessment (RA) process, which is necessary to identify the major aspects concerning the safety and impact of this new technology on humans. This situation may seriously hamper the market uptake of new products. This paper presents the results of a survey that was circulated to understand how hazards are considered by exoskeleton users, from research and industry perspectives. Our analysis aimed to identify the perceived occurrence and the impact of a sample of generic hazards, as well as to collect suggestions and general opinions from the respondents that can serve as a reference for more targeted RA. Our results identified a list of relevant hazards for exoskeletons. Among them, misalignments and unintended device motion were perceived as key aspects for exoskeletons’ safety. This survey aims to represent a first attempt in recording overall feedback from the community and contribute to future RAs and the identification of better mitigation strategies in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Exoskeletons
  • Hazardous events
  • Hazards
  • Physical assistant robots
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety
  • Wearable robots

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