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DE VITO Exoskeleton

In this research project at Imperial College London, we built a dual-arm exoskeleton for teleoperating robots in the Robot Intelligence Lab , especially our beloved friend Robot DE NIRO. With regards to the design, this exoskeleton had four design goals:

  1. A few-component, high degree-of-freedom (DOF), dual-arm design, without sacrificing in measurement precision on manipulation tasks and in comparison to previous designs that have a small number of DOFs
  2. Passive measurement with minimal impact on the human operator
  3. A lightweight and wearable and therefore portable suite directly mounted on the operator
  4. Low-energy, highly optimized electronic components
  5. An inexpensive design with an estimated total material cost of at least an order of magnitude less than previous work which is crucial to make the exoskeleton design more widely accessible.

We also developed the control algorithms for teleoperating a slave robot, in our case Robot DE NIRO. We tested them experimenting with various manipulation tasks, including grasping and handing over cups and bottles, stacking bricks and a peg-in-hole task.

We presented an accepted paper of this work at the conference Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems 2019, the largest UK-based robotics conference.

And here comes the most surprising and astonishing news of all: We won the Best Paper Award! Imperial College London also posted a news article on this achievement.

This work was only made possible by my brilliant co-author Kawin Larppichet who is an outstanding bioengineer and our advisor Petar Kormushev who supported this project very closely.

All “source files”, including CAD models, code and supplementary videos of DE VITO are freely available on the Robot intelligence Lab’s website. Here are some specific pointers to further resources:

Paper: DE VITO paper
Code: DE VITO code base of kinematic control algorithms
CAD Models: DE VITO CAD Models and documentation