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In Frontiers in neurorobotics ; h5-index 0.0

It is important for rehabilitation exoskeletons to move with a spatiotemporal motion patterns that well match the upper-limb joint kinematic characteristics. However, few efforts have been made to manipulate the motion control based on human kinematic synergies. This work analyzed the spatiotemporal kinematic synergies of right arm reaching movement and investigated their potential usage in upper limb assistive exoskeleton motion planning. Ten right-handed subjects were asked to reach 10 target button locations placed on a cardboard in front. The kinematic data of right arm were tracked by a motion capture system. Angular velocities over time for shoulder flexion/extension, shoulder abduction/adduction, shoulder internal/external rotation, and elbow flexion/extension were computed. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to derive kinematic synergies from the reaching task for each subject. We found that the first four synergies can explain more than 94% of the variance. Moreover, the joint coordination patterns were dynamically regulated over time as the number of kinematic synergy (PC) increased. The synergies with different order played different roles in reaching movement. Our results indicated that the low-order synergies represented the overall trend of motion patterns, while the high-order synergies described the fine motions at specific moving phases. A 4-DoF upper limb assistive exoskeleton was modeled in SolidWorks to simulate assistive exoskeleton movement pattern based on kinematic synergy. An exoskeleton Denavit-Hartenberg (D-H) model was established to estimate the exoskeleton moving pattern in reaching tasks. The results further confirmed that kinematic synergies could be used for exoskeleton motion planning, and different principal components contributed to the motion trajectory and end-point accuracy to some extent. The findings of this study may provide novel but simplified strategies for the development of rehabilitation and assistive robotic systems approximating the motion pattern of natural upper-limb motor function.

Tang Shangjie, Chen Lin, Barsotti Michele, Hu Lintao, Li Yongqiang, Wu Xiaoying, Bai Long, Frisoli Antonio, Hou Wensheng


inter-joint coordination, kinematic synergies, motion planning, principal component analysis, upper limb movements