Visible to the public CPS: Synergy: Multi-Robot Cyber-Physical System for Assisting Young Developmentally-Delayed Children in Learning to WalkConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details
Lead PI:Eugene Goldfield
Sunil Agrawal
Performance Period:10/01/13 - 09/30/17
Sponsor(s):Harvard University
Award Number:1329363
1129 Reads. Placed 243 out of 804 NSF CPS Projects based on total reads on all related artifacts.
Abstract: This project is a modular, computationally-distributed multi-robot cyberphysical system (CPS) for assisting young developmentally-delayed children in learning to walk. The multi-robot CPS is designed to function in the same way as an adult assisting a child in learning to walk (addressing the research target area of a science of CPS by introducing developmental rehabilitation robotics). It addresses the research target area of new CPS technology by introducing a multi-robot system: 1) a multi-cable scaffold robot that continuously modulates the stabilization of medio-lateral and anterior-posterior sway, and 2) a soft, wearable, exosuit robot with embedded sensing and actuation, which assists with stance push off and swing flexion. The objective is to build a prototype multi-robot CPS and perform tests with human subjects to evaluate the CPS functionality, safety, and interoperability (addressing the research target area of engineering CPS). Longitudinal tests of typically developing and developmentally delayed children learning to walk with or without assistance of the multi-robot CPS are conducted in a motion capture laboratory. Body center of mass behavior as well as gait parameters of walking are measured as the two robots work together to assist the child in maintaining balance and propelling the body forward with each step. This exosuit/scaffolding multi-robot technology will advance knowledge within engineering with bio-inspired soft components, including miniature pneumatic artificial muscle actuators with embedded sensors that enable the control of the muscles in real time. The bio-inspired architecture and material components of the exosuit will make possible a new generation of ?smart fabric? that acts in concert with the body for efficient energy use. The exosuit is part of a larger modular design that makes it possible to couple it to additional assistive robots via a modular communications network. Together, the exosuit, scaffold robot, and wireless communications network for modular CPS, will advance knowledge for the engineering of other CPS that require high levels of interoperability and safety, such as medical CPS. The multi-robot CPS is designed for children who are developmentally delayed as a result of early brain injury. The long term consequences of early brain injury, e.g., in children born prematurely, constitute a major health problem and a significant emotional and financial burden for families and society. The use of a multi-robot cyberphysical system as part of a rehabilitation program may be able to harness the potential of the nervous system for plasticity, the ability to re-organize its structure, function, and connections. The focus is on young children with a history of early brain injury due to prematurity. However, this new cyberphysical system will have a much broader impact in restoring function throughout the life span. Neuroplasticity is not just an immediate response to injury, but occurs throughout the developmental period, providing an opportunity to promote repair and re-education, and restore function. A key to this broad application is the developmentally-motivated, modular structure and interoperability of the exosuit.