The ReHyb project will develop a hybrid upper-limb exoskeleton that uses its own sensing and novel actuation capabilities for generating the digital twin of the user. The advanced cognitive system will interface the digital twin to plan and control the hybrid exoskeleton so that the control system sympathetically respects user’s neuromechanical and psychological status, and intelligently assists the user’s motion. The cognitive capability accomplishes the robotic system to predict user behaviour and derive personalised interaction strategies by accessing to the digitised knowledge about the user. The hybrid of powered exoskeleton and FES on the user’s arm and hand allow the assistive interaction at the behavioural and muscle levels, which increases the interaction efficacy by improving the user model and wearability of the system, while an advanced control algorithm ensures all interaction strategies are executed safely and robustly. Supervision of the user’s internal processes support adaptation to the human intention to maximise the improvement over the course of interaction. The assessment function, together with a multimodal communication interface, will adapt the interaction programme in real-time to ensure that the users are assisted by the robotic technology in flexible and intuitive manners. The user will experience multiplicative improvements in underlying technologies, in terms of wearability of the device, robot motion much more sympathetic to the user need and intention, and intuitive HR communication through the feedback design. For simplicity and a strong societal impact, the ReHyb project adapts its use case to the healthcare of stroke patients in the participatory design which would allow a full exploration of the concepts and techniques as a user-centric device, accompanied by detailed ethico-legal analyses and exploitation potentials.
It is expected that by 2050 over 20 % of the European population will be above 80 years old and there is a pressing need to allow elderly to maintain a healthy and active living environment. The share of service robots is predicted to increase to at least 20% by 2020 and personal-robots to 9 % by 2025.