Soft technologies represent a possible solution to these issues. However, by nature they present performance limitations, and current applications are restricted to low to moderate levels of assistance, while more severe impairments are still the typical targeted applications for hard exoskeletons. Indeed, compliant materials, and soft sensing and actuation components, hold promise for facilitating monitoring and assistance in case of light impairment and even for prolonging independent living in other pre-frail elderly. This also implies a possibly huge scale of application.
The use of soft technologies implies not only different technical solutions (design, actuation, sensing, integration, control, etc.), but also a different approach. Instead of replacing a substantial missing functionality in the subject, a minimal amount of assistance can be used in combination with the functionality still present. Also solutions related with the remote monitoring of function and safety of a series of exoskeletons being used ‘unsupervised’ in the public area.
The contributors of this special session will have the opportunity to share their experiences and latest results in the area of soft wearable robots and exosuits, and discuss possible new strategies that can be adopted for materials and components, up to the whole wearable system.
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