Training is really important to get the most out of your exoskeleton

New exoskeleton studies show the importance of training.

Researchers say that exoskeleton devices can be used in a variety of applications, including speeding up walking and ease of running. But they don’t know exactly what makes the exoskeleton effective. For example, what are the benefits of customization? And how important is it to just get used to the exoskeleton?

“People are surprised to learn new tasks,” says Catherine Pogensee, a former member of the Stanford University Institute for Biomechatronics. “And just by training, that is, giving people time to learn how to use the device themselves, they can greatly benefit from our device.”

To uncover the secrets of exoskeleton success, Poggensee and Steve Collins, associate professors of mechanical engineering and head of the Institute for Biomechatronics, monitor the progress of 15 people equipped with an exoskeleton emulator for their ankles. bottom. It mimics the human foot and powered exoskeleton, but is highly customizable and fine-tuned via a special lab-based controller.

These people had never used the exoskeleton before, and all benefited from training, but the results differed significantly with different approaches.

Participants who received the most favorable training conditions consumed nearly 40% less energy. walk Use exoskeleton aids compared to walking with the exoskeleton off.According to a new study by, among all participants, researchers determined that training contributed about half of the overall benefits provided by the exoskeleton. Science robotics..

“The main message to my colleagues is: We need to enhance our experimental games. We really need to train people,” says Collins. He describes the exoskeleton experience as riding a bike, not wearing the superhero’s smart armor. “Once you’ve learned how to do it well, you can start walking with an exoskeleton, which is easy, but it takes some time to become an expert.”

Exoskeleton training and customization

The researchers focused on three main questions. Can people be trained to use the exoskeleton simply by passing the device and walking for long periods of time? Can you help people train faster when exposed to different exoskeleton behaviors? And how does customized control of the exoskeleton affect performance when people are fully trained?

The researchers divided the participants into three major groups, each experiencing five days of training. One group received general support from the exoskeleton emulator (based on what helped participants in the past) and another group had an ongoing experience optimisation Throughout the survey, we developed devices to meet specific needs, and the third group experienced optimizations that were reset daily.

As expected, participants in the continuous optimization group saw the greatest reduction in energy expenditure and were exposed to various changes in exoskeleton behavior, thus achieving these benefits more quickly. “What we didn’t expect was how well people worked,” says Poggensee.

The most favorable group of people (continuous optimization and exposure to moderate diversity) were those who reduced energy costs by almost 40%. (And many participants weren’t even aware of how much the exoskeleton was supporting until they turned off the exoskeleton and returned to walking.) By comparing all the tests, the researchers were able to We have determined that training is responsible for about half of this improvement and about a quarter of it for customization. That customization is likely to be even more important for people with mobility problems, Poggensee says.

Another surprise was how long it took participants to become “experts”. This was defined by researchers as the time when energy improvements had peaked. This took about 2 hours on the exoskeleton emulator. This is equivalent to walking 5 miles. It may not seem long, but it’s a substantive effort for laboratory research.

“Fortunately for future product users, we expect people to accumulate a lot of exposure during the first week of using the device, thus hindering or hindering people. The context should not prevent people from becoming professionals, “says Collins, who is also a faculty member at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) who funded the study. “But if you really want to understand how people react to new devices in the lab, you need a long protocol.”

This study points out the value of a better understanding of training, including how people get used to it. Mobility device How can you improve your training?

“The big point for me is that we need to encourage participants to promote their research,” says Poggensee. “We need to give them time to actually learn how to use the device, and we will not interfere with any learning.”

The team’s interest was also inspired by the fact that tens of hours of training were slow to improve performance, even after participants qualified as professionals. To get the most out of the exoskeleton, researchers may need to study how people’s bodies themselves adapt. For example, how muscles are strengthened to make better use of the device.

For now, Collins and his lab are looking at ways to speed up their expertise, including a collaboration with Stanford University computer scientist Emma Brunskill. And he is becoming more and more optimistic about the potential of the exoskeleton to become a common device in many people’s lives.

“The exoskeleton is coming,” says Collins. “They will improve your life, and once you get used to them, you may not notice.”

The National Science Foundation and Stanford University’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Grant Program funded this work.

This article was originally published future..It was reissued below Attribution 4.0 International License.. Training is really important to get the most out of your exoskeleton

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