Recent Advances in Human Assistive Robotics
ABSTRACT of the TALK
Robotics technologies are steadily penetrating in our daily lives. We are surrounded by robotic products and interact with them in many ways. Such systems may potentially improve the quality of life of people with major or minor impairments in walking ability. Since the Iron Man movie became popular, many people are looking forward to wearable robots in reality as a means of assistance device for the elderly, patients, and anyone with physically demanding works. By the help of recent remarkable advancement of key technologies, a wearable robot is no longer a hero in a science-fiction movie. The powered exoskeleton race of the Cybathlon 2020 showed several wearable robots, where two pilots of KAIST team received the Gold and Bronze medals respectively, and the speed of the Gold medalist wearing a powered exoskeleton was faster than most of the powered wheel-chairs. In addition, wearable robots for rehabilitation purposes have been commercialized by many companies all over the world, and anyone with difficulty in walking can experience wearable robots in near rehabilitation centers. In this talk, several key technologies recently advanced for wearable robots are introduced. These technologies include 1) sensing technologies for observing the dynamic state of the human wearing a robot, as well as for identifying the intent of humans, 2) decision making algorithms to decide about the right amount of assistance, 3) actuation technologies to provide precise assistive forces, and 4) control algorithms for providing assistance as needed. Based on these key technologies, success stories of WalkON Suit, the Gold medalist of the powered exoskeleton race of Cybathlon 2020, and Angel Legs, a commercialized wearable robot for rehabilitation purposes, will be introduced in this talk also.
Kyoungchul Kong received the B.Eng. degree (summa cum laude) in mechanical engineering, the B.S. degree in physics in 2004, and the M.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 2006 from Sogang University, Seoul, Korea, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA, in 2009, where he later became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow until 2011.
In 2011, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sogang University, as an assistant professor. He is currently an associate professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He is a founder and the CEO of Angel Robotics, a start-up company for productizing wearable robots.
Dr. Kong received the Best Innovation Award from the President of South Korea in 2017, the Commendation by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy in 2017, the Bronze Medal of Cybathlon 2016, the Young Researcher Award of IFAC Mechatronics TC in 2016, the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal of Cybathlon 2020, and many others.
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