Soft Wearable Robotics

We develop lightweight soft wearable rehabilitation and assistive robotic devices, including soft robotic gloves and socks, which can provide robot-assisted movement to the joints of interest for the patients.

Soft Robotic Glove

Various robotic exoskeletons have been proposed to serve as assistive devices and provide assistance to the patients through rehabilitation exercises. However, traditional exoskeletons are comprised of rigid components that impede the natural movement of the joints, and thus reduce their wearability and cause discomfort to the wearers. In this project, we developed a wearable soft robotic glove for hand assistive and rehabilitation applications by using soft pneumatic actuators that are flexible and lightweight. The target users are the patients suffering from hand impairments due to neurodegenerative diseases (parkinson’s disease, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS)), neuromuscular disorders (muscular dystrophies), neurovascular disorders/trauma (stroke and traumatic brain injuries) that require physical or occupational hand rehabilitation. Compared to existing devices, the soft robotic glove has the potential to increase user independence and allow at-home rehabilitation due to its portability and high customizability.
Relevant Publications:
  • H.K. Yap, F. Nasrahllah, J.H. Lim, F.Z. Low, J.C.H. Goh, C.H. Yeow. "MRC-Glove: A fMRI Compatible Soft Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation Application", 14th IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR 2015).
  • H.K. Yap, J.H. Lim, F. Nasrahllah, J.C.H. Goh, C.H. Yeow. "A Soft Exoskeleton for Hand Assistive and Rehabilitation Application using Pneumatic Actuators with Variable Stiffness", in IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2015).
  • H.K. Yap, J.C.H. Goh, C.H Yeow . "Design and Characterization of Soft Actuator for Hand Rehabilitation Application", 6th European Conference of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering IFMBE Proceedings Volume 45, 2014, pp 367-370 .

Soft Robotic Sock

The soft robotic sock, which mimics tentacle movements of corals, can benefit bedridden or immobile patients. Patients who are bedridden or unable to move their legs are often at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening condition caused by blood clots forming along the lower extremity veins of the legs. We have invented a novel sock that can help prevent DVT and improve survival rates of patients. Equipped with soft actuators that mimic the tentacle movements of corals, the robotic sock emulates natural lower leg muscle contractions in the wearer’s leg, thereby promoting blood circulation throughout the wearer’s body. In addition, the novel device can potentially optimise therapy sessions and enable the patient’s lower leg movements to be monitored to improve therapy outcomes.
Relevant Publications:
  • F.Z. Low, H.H. Tan, J.H. Lim, C.H. Yeow. “Development of a Soft Pneumatic Sock for Robot-assisted Ankle Exercise”, ASME Journal of Medical Devices. (Accepted)
  • F.Z. Low, H.K. Yap, J.H. Lim, C.H. Yeow. "Study on the use of Soft Ankle-Foot Exosock for Alternative Mechanical Prophylaxis of Deep Vein Thrombosis", 14th IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR 2015).