A Workshop proposal on

Wearable robotics for motion assistance and rehabilitation - RoboAssist 2018
a Workshop proposal in conjunction with IEEE/RSJ IROS 2018, 1-5 October, 2018

Statement of objectives

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 ageing of this population. Facing this problem or reducing its effect would have a great societal impact by improving the quality of life and regaining people independence to make 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, rehabilitation and assistive robotics have 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 such robotic devices. In addition, technological advances and the emergence of novel adapted technologies such as wearable technologies with considerable reduction in size, cost and energy consumption, are becoming a privileged solution to provide assistive and rehabilitation 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 and assistance purposes, wearable powered robots have been gradually proposed as a technological aid for motion rehabilitation 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.

The purpose of this new edition of the RoboAssist workshop is to discuss the new technological challenges that affect the development of the existing wearable robot devices such as technologies enabling better sensing and interpretation of human-robot interaction, new controllable actuators enabling a better interaction, and the enhanced computing power enabling complex reasoning and control strategies. Also, it is worthy noting the emerging area of soft wearable robots. This rapidly emerging field will not replace traditional exoskeletons but offers new possibilities to augment the performance of healthy individuals but also restore function for impaired individuals with residual capacity, i.e. where only small to moderate levels of assistance is needed to improve function ability.

As continuity of the successful previous editions of this workshop held at Neurotechnix 2013 (http://www.neurotechnix.org/RoboAssist.aspx?y=2013), IEEE/ICRA 2014 (http://roboassist2014.com/doku.php/start), IEEE/RAS-EMBS ICORR 2015, and IEEE/RSJ IROS 2016 (http://roboassist.net/IROS2016_WS/doku.php), this workshop proposal would be the fifth edition of RoboAssist Workshop and aims at contributing to discuss the state of the art and the future trends of the use of wearable robotics for motion assistance and rehabilitation.

Intended audience

The proposed workshop will gather researchers from academia, industry in different fields related to wearable robotics, to lively discuss, based on the case studies presented by the invited speakers in each session, the current trends, the major advances that have been made as well as new research directions and future challenges in the field of wearable robots.

The program will be divided into four sessions with two to three established expert researchers and one to two early-career researchers, in each session. A real demo slot will be devoted in the third session. A one-hour poster slot is also planned in session II with a short 5-10 minutes teaser. Intended audience concerns PhD students and researchers from both academia and industry who are interested in the field of wearable robots. Both poster and real demo sessions will provide a real opportunity to all participants to interact and exchange their experience together. The workshop will be concluded by a roundtable discussion to explore the future issues that need further investigations.

Topics of interest
  • Neurorobotics;
  • EMG Signal Processing and applications to wearable robotics;
  • Neurological Disorders and Rehabilitation using wearable robots;
  • Neuro-interface Prosthetic Devices;
  • Exoskeletons, actuated orthosis and prostheses;
  • Bio-inspired approaches for design and control of wearable robots;
  • Mechatronic design and control of human movements;
  • Physical interaction paradigms for assistive robotics;
  • Soft wearable robotics
Important dates
  • Submission of two A4 pages: TBD
  • Acceptance notification: TBD
  • Registration: See IROS Website
  • Workshop date: TBD