Wearable Robotics for Mobility Assistance and Exercise

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Department Seminar Series

11/3 (Monday)    Noon – 1:00 pm     RH 202

Wearable Robotics for Mobility Assistance and Exercise

Peter Neuhaus, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC)
Pensacola, FL

IHMC has been developing wearable robotic devices for a range of applications. The first device that we designed and built was to assist a person to swim faster and farther underwater. We then developed a series of exoskeletons for assisting a person with paraplegia to walk on level ground. We have successfully tested our devices with two people that have a complete SCI. Part of our exoskeleton development was performed in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center. Through this collaboration, we developed and tested devices for muscle strength assessment and performing exercise in zero-gravity environments. An essential component to most wearable robotic systems is high fidelity torque controllable actuators; through our many years of research we have also designed, built, and tested many various actuators, some successful, other not so much. This talk will give an overview these exoskeleton devices and our actuator developments. 



Dr. Peter Neuhaus is a Senior Research Scientist at IHMC. He received his B.S. from MIT and his M.S. and Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. After graduating, he spent five years working in industry; he co-founded a start-up company for distributed power generation and then managed robotic factory-automation projects. In 2003, he joined IHMC. His work focuses on wearable robotic systems and legged robots. Dr. Neuhaus was one of the lead researchers for the DARPA Learning Locomotion project, developing quadrupedal locomotion algorithms for the Little Dog robot; some of the algorithms include dynamic maneuvers, reactive control, and the Xgait. His work on wearable robotic devices centers on lower extremity exoskeleton devices with application for mobility assistance for people with paralysis and paresis, gait rehabilitation, strength and endurance enhancement, and smart exercise devices. He has developed a series of mobility assistance exoskeletons, including the IHMC Mina exoskeleton, which has demonstrated assisting two persons with paraplegia in walking mobility. After that, he completed the X1 exoskeleton with NASA Johnson Space Center, which offers strength enhancement for able-bodied people in addition to mobility assistance. He has been developing software and assisting in managing the IHMC humanoid robotics effort on the DARPA Robotics Challenge and National Robotics Initiative (NRI) projects.