Case Study: Active Elbow Brace

First active soft elbow brace using fluidic muscles and stretch sensors

Credit: A. Veale, Auckland Biomimetics Insitute

A group at the Auckland Biomimetics Institute is using StretchSense sensors to control an active soft elbow brace. The above video shows their elbow brace which is the first to feature slimline and flexible fluidic muscles (arranged antagonistically on either side of the brace in similar fashion to biological muscles). 

Stretch sensors are sewn along the length of the muscles and are pre-tensioned so they move in concert with the muscles as they contract.

As the brace is actuated, the strain sensors provide feedback on the current orientation of the joint. This control can be seen at the beginning of the video when the lego model of the elbow joint moves in unison with the actuation of the elbow brace.