2003 Volume 46 Issue 3 Pages 923-930
In order to realize a wearable power assisting suit for assisting a nurse to carry a patient in her arms, the power supply and control systems of the suit have to be miniaturized, and it has to be wireless and pipeline-less. The new wearable suit consists of shoulders, arms, back, waist and legs units to be fitted on the nurse's body. The arms, waist and legs have new pneumatic rotary actuators driven directly by micro air pumps supplied by portable Ni-Cd batteries. The muscle forces are sensed by a new muscle hardness sensor utilizing a sensing tip mounted on a force sensing film device. An embedded microcomputer is used for the calculations of control signals. The new wearable suit was applied practically to a human body and a series of movement experiments that weights in the arms were held and taken up and down was performed. Each unit of the suit could transmit assisting torque directly to each joint verifying its practicability.