An active exoskeletal garment, developed by faculty across UD, would help restore upper-body mobility for stroke survivors. Mechanical actuators within the device push and pull on cables that run through the sleeves, serving as artificial ligaments, muscles and tendons. The pushing and pulling of the cables helps raise and lower the wearer’s arms, while computer algorithms sense when the patient needs an assistive boost, and how much help to provide. Read the full UD Magazine article here.

Sensor Placement – As director of Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab, Jill Higginson, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is using human movement analysis and musculoskeletal modeling to pinpoint placement of sensors on the suit, a crucial step for ensuring that patients’ receive just the right amount of help from the motors and cables.

Human-robot Interaction – As director of the Human Robotics (HuRo) lab at UD, biomedical engineering professor Fabrizzio Sergi is working on computer algorithms that will be the “brains” of the system of motor-driven pulleys and cables that will sense when to give a mechanical boost to a patient’s movements. Motors would be attached to the back of the suit. Grad students Steve Buchanan and Cheyenne Smith helped push it all forward.

Customizable Apparel – HensWEAR’s potential is bolstered by research from other top UD professors, including Michele Lobo, who is exploring the use of inflatable bladders to aid in arm movement. Prof. Martha Hall is busy working on customized body braces for injured UD athletes, and mechanical engineering prof. Michael Keefe is analyzing the minutia of how garments interact and bend with human movement. The project also includes Elisa Arch, Sean Healy and Adriana Gorea.