One aim of exoskeleton research is to improve quality of life by allowing people who have lost mobility to regain agency by participating meaningfully in a fuller range of physical and social activities. While quality of life has diverse meanings for different populations, active participation in sports and leisure activities for both persons living with permanent disabilities and those recovering from illness have consistently shown to have psychological benefits, including improved Quality of Life. Our goal is to implement creative arts practice to promote movement training between people with upper limb impairment and able-bodied people using tele-operated exoskeletons. The project strengthens the quality of life of people who, because of disability, are physically dependent on others. This project develops a novel approach for bringing together disabled persons and their caregivers to engage in collaborative, co-created dance supported by exoskeleton technology that could potential improve wellbeing for both partners. Dancers and choreographers have a keen understanding of human movement, and have developed advanced strategies for describing and generating complex motion patterns that explore the full range of human movement. Building on prior research that combines dance and robotics, we combine dance and exoskeletons in a human-robot interaction study.The project seeks to make novel contribution in the following areas:•Rehabilitation & Training: Novel rehabilitation therapy to support and enhance wellbeing and improve overall quality of life •Social & Cultural Impact: Increased integration and accessibility for persons with disability to participate meaningful in dance and thereby improve quality of life, while providing friends and family members an engaging and therapeutic role in rehabilitation•Engineering: Improved and integrated exoskeleton technologies and devices.
EXACT combines dance and movement training with exoskeleton research and development and testing. Exoskeletons are designed and tested in cooperation with artists, designers, engineers, human-motion modelers, health care professionals, and persons with and without disabilities. The goal is to test whether the use of choreography improves the human-exoskeleton interaction, or has a positive effect on user compliance and adaptability.