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Spinal Exoskeletal Robot for Low Back Pain Prevention and Vocational Reintegration

Objective

Low-back pain is the leading cause of worker absenteeism after the common cold, accounting for 15% of sick leaves and hundreds of millions of lost work days annually [Walking 2.0, Nature, 2015].

Most of today's robotic assistive devices are in forms of exoskeletons that augment the motion of legs and arms and neglect the role of spinal column in transferring load from the upper body and arms to the legs. In SPEXOR we will fill this gap and design a novel and revolutionary spinal exoskeleton to prevent low-back pain in able bodied workers and to support workers with low-back pain in vocational rehabilitation.

The concept to realize the objectives of SPEXOR is driven by several interdisciplinary ideas that push current understanding of low-back pain intervention through several innovative research and technological stages. First, robot-centred requirements for low-back pain prevention are determined and a musculoskeletal stress monitoring system is developed to unobtrusively measure the associated key variables. Then, optimal design parameters and sensorimotor strategies are provided with respect to the robot-centred requirements and their associated key variables. Based on these aspects, a spinal exoskeleton mechanism and its actuation is developed and adaptive control architecture is employed. Such research and development cycle is enclosed by multi-phase end-user evaluation, usability and satisfaction studies.

The project builds upon the partner's extensive experience with work ergonomics, modelling and optimization of human movement, design, control and evaluation of exoskeletons. Several beyond-the-state-of-art scientific approaches and technologies will be employed through a colourful mixture of research, industrial, SME and end-user partners of the consortium.

Ultimately, the results of SPEXOR will have a significant impact well beyond the current scientific understanding and technological capabilities of assistive robots used in daily life and health care.

Coordinator

INSTITUT JOZEF STEFAN

Address

Jamova 39
1000 Ljubljana

Slovenia

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 570 250

Participants (7)

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RUPRECHT-KARLS-UNIVERSITAET HEIDELBERG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 677 625

VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 650 525

STICHTING VU

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 667 375

OTTOBOCK SE & CO. KGAA

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 521 250

OTTO BOCK HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS GMBH

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 311 250

S2P DOO

Slovenia

EU Contribution

€ 301 375

STICHTING HELIOMARE

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 289 375

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 687662

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2016

  • End date

    31 December 2019

Funded under:

H2020-EU.2.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 3 989 025

  • EU contribution

    € 3 989 025

Coordinated by:

INSTITUT JOZEF STEFAN

Slovenia