Relearning to walk with exoskeletons – effect of wearable robots on human motivation

We are especially interested in evaluating the effect of modulating movement errors on subjects’ motivation. Feedback has motivational properties that have an important influence on learning. For example, feedback after successful trials has been shown to have a beneficial effect on learning.

The research is carried out using MARCOS (MAgnetic Resonance COmpatible Stepper) developed at ETH Zurich as a tool for the investigation of the neural correlates underlying the control of lower limb movements. The knee and the foot of the subjects are each connected to a pneumatic actuator.The position of the leg and external forces (e.g. to simulate ground reaction forces) are controlled by theses cylinders separately for each leg. Movements performed with MARCOS are comparable to periodic, on the spot stepping.

Keywords: Wearable robotics, exoskeleton, rehabilitation, neural correlates, motor learning, motivation, error modulating controllers

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