Wearable Robots for Augmentation, Assistance or Substitution of Human Motor Functions
Wearable Robots (WRs) is an emerging field of personal devices that are integrated parts of human functioning, and that are constructed of typical robotic components such as actuators, sensors and control algorithms. Where conventional robots were typically intended for use in industrial environments to help in tedious and repetitive tasks and tasks requiring high precision, the situation is currently evolving to one where there is an increasing direct physical interaction between robot and human operator. The interaction with humans in WRs is not only physical, but also includes cognitive aspects, as in the interaction, control of functions is typically shared by human and machine. WRs can be used either to augment, train or supplement motor functions or to replace them completely. Wearable Robots operate alongside human limbs, as is the case in orthotic robots, exoskeletons or robotic suits. WRs are expected to find applications in Medical, Industrial and Consumer Domains, such as neuro-rehabilitation, worker support, or general augmentation. As WRs continuously interact with humans in multiple situations, Human Robot Interaction, Ergonomics, and Ethical, Legal and Societal (ELS) considerations, as well as early involvement of stakeholders are of essential interest. This Action focuses on the European integration of different underlying disciplines in science and engineering, as well as on engaging of stakeholders to improve WR technology and its societal impact.