ABLE, an Innovative Transparent Exoskeleton for the Upper-Limb

Abstract : This paper presents ABLE, an innovative exoskeleton for the upper limb currently under development at CEA-LIST Interactive Robotics Unit (Fig 1). Its distinctive high performance mechanical transmissions-screw and cable patented arrangement [9]-and its integrated architecture makes it the very first of its category. The first 4 axis model is described here but more complete models are already planned: a 7 axis model as well as portable versions. Its back-drivable, high efficiency, low inertia actuators provide a high capacity (around 40 N continuous effort at the hand) and allow hybrid force-position control without requiring any force sensor. Its first application is currently a research program in rehabilitation (BRAHMA project) and professional use is already in view. Assistance tasks for disabled persons (carrying a bottle) are also typical tasks to be performed by ABLE as well as intuitive telerobotics, haptic device for VR, and sport training, etc. Furthermore, its versatility and simple design allow industrial versions to become soon available. Fig 1. CEA-LIST 4 axis exoskeleton actuated by screw-and-cable actuators (SCS actuator) I. THE GENESIS OF ABLE-A SHORT STORY OF THE SCS ACTUATOR ABLE exoskeleton is directly related to electrical master-slave manipulator (EMSM) teleoperation technology in which our laboratory has played a historical role. Fig 2 shows a quick summary of well-known pioneering machines [8], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16] illustrated with their mechanical solutions. Model E1Î circa 1954 (ANL/CRL) Joint transmission cable Motors (multiples) Spur gears Model E1Î circa 1954 (ANL/CRL) Joint transmission cable Motors (multiples) Spur gears Joint transmission cable Motors (multiples) Spur gears MA 23 circa 1974 (CEA/La Calhène) Motor Cabstan (positive) Block-and-tackle Joint transmission cable MA 23 circa 1974 (CEA/La Calhène) Motor Cabstan (positive) Block-and-tackle Joint transmission cable Motor Cabstan (positive) Block-and-tackle Joint transmission cable Hand Controller circa 1990 (JPL) Capstan (adherence) e Joint transmission cable Hand Controller circa 1990 (JPL) Capstan (adherence) e Joint transmission cable Capstan (adherence) Capstan (adherence) e e Joint transmission cable Fig 2. Landmarks in torque amplification for back-drivable electrical master-slave telemanipulator (EMSM) The first principle has been used by R. Goertz (ANL) in his E1-E4 and Model M. Motor torque is amplified using high-precision spur gears driving the joints either directly (translation joints) or, like the scheme shows, trough transmission cable (for remote rotation joints). The second is due to J. Vertut and is team (CEA) for the MA 23. Motor
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P. Garrec, Y Friconneau, Y Méasson, Y Perrot. ABLE, an Innovative Transparent Exoskeleton for the Upper-Limb. International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, INRIA, Sep 2008, Nice, France. ⟨10.1109/IROS.2008.4651012⟩. ⟨cea-01588401⟩

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