Physical Assistance Systems

Mobility is one of the basic needs of any human being. Due to the ongoing demographic change in most industrialized countries, this aspect is getting more and more attention from economical, scientific and political spheres. In the professional context, maintaining a healthy workforce is becoming increasingly important for employers due to the shortage of qualified workers. Musculoskeletal problems are the main cause of illness-related absence or turnover. In a private context, the loss of mobility is a personal drama for those affected, with serious negative consequences on the quality of life. These circumstances already call for technical solutions today and increasingly so in the future.

For this reason, our interdisciplinary team, consisting of engineers in electronics, mechatronics, mechanical engineering, cybernetics and software engineering, is investigating new technical solutions and developing innovative mechatronic systems for applications in to the fields of industry, medical technology, rehabilitation and handcraft. Experts from the fields of ergonomics, physiotherapy, sports science and orthopaedics support them in an advising role. Their goal is to maintain, restore and/or increase human mobility through actively driven technical systems in the form of prostheses, orthoses and exoskeletons.

Our interdisciplinary team takes all aspects of the development process into account. From the biomechanical analysis of the specific ergonomic challenge, through the technical conceptual design and realization, up to the integration in the working environment and the final evaluation, we can assist you during the whole process or for specific aspects along the "ergonomics-technology-loop".

Our team can support your innovative developments through:

  • Biomechanical analysis and assessment from the ergonomic perspective,
  • Feasibility study, requirement-engineering and derivation of functional specifications,
  • Concept development and early assessment, e.g. using model-based evaluation,
  • Development of functional demonstrators (incl. mechanics and electronics),
  • Design and implementation of software and control algorithms,
  • Functional tests and evaluation (e.g. through human-in-the-loop experiments).

Please feel free to contact us. We are looking forward to working with you!

Expertise

 

Applied biomechanics

The “Applied Biomechanics” group specializes in conducting kinetic and kinematic analyses for its customers. The group also offers mechanical design solutions for prostheses and orthoses as well as test solutions in the areas of orthopedics, work ergonomics and sport sciences.

 

Digital biomechanics - model-based evaluation and optimization

Individual musculoskeletal human models can be used to approximate the biomechanical properties of the human body and objectify the effects of assistance systems.

 

Intuitive interaction with body-worn technology

The ability to provide intuitive, safe and on-demand support for the user is one of the key functions of all physical assistance systems.

 

Reference projects

 

Drive systems and exoskeletons

 

BMBF Project – ExoHaptik

Development of a haptic output device in the form of an exoskeleton, which can provide caregivers with a realistic feeling of strain and thus be used as a training device.

 

BMBF Project – ExoPflege

A user-friendly, actively powered and anthropomorphic exoskeleton demonstrator will be developed, optimized and evaluated for high-stress care settings.

 

ICON Bionic Joint

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the University of Auckland in New Zealand will work hand in hand for the next three years on a project to develop a novel arm orthosis for elbows – the “Bionic Joint”.