Origami-Inspired Wearable Robot for Trunk Support

Dongting Li, Emiliano Quinones Yumbla, Alyssa Olivas, Thomas Sugar, Heni Ben Amor, Hyunglae Lee, Wenlong Zhang, Daniel M. Aukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a wearable 'exo-shell' device inspired by the human spine for improving the gait of elderly people during obstacle avoidance tasks. This device - designed and fabricated with origami-inspired techniques - features a serial chain of lockable joints that can be stiffened using a braking system inspired by laminar jamming concepts. Current related work has identified that the trunk plays a crucial role in obstacle avoidance tasks. In this article, we thus propose an affordable wearable system that can be quickly fabricated and whose design can be adjusted to fit the individual wearer. The design leverages switchable, passive systems, in combination with lightweight materials that remain as 'transparent' to the user as possible when inactive. This article focuses on translating human requirements into a tangible design that addresses the current state of our biomechanics knowledge. We describe the kinematics and forces of our proposed device, describe the performance of our system in a locked and unlocked state, discuss the integration of various sensors into our device, and characterize the performance of the device when locked and unlocked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1466-1476
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • Parallel robots
  • robot kinematics
  • robotics and automation
  • wearable robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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