The field of soft wearable robotics offers the opportunity to wear robots like clothes to assist the movement of specific body parts or to endow the body with functionalities. Collaborative efforts of materials, apparel and robotics science have already led to the development of wearable technologies for physical therapy. Optimizing the human–robot system by human-in-the-loop approaches will pave the way for personalized soft wearable robots for a variety of applications.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $4.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Quinlivan, B. et al. Assistance magnitude versus metabolic cost reductions for a tethered multiarticular soft exosuit. Science Robotics 2, eaah4416 (2017).
Awad, L. et al. A soft robotic exosuit improves walking in patients after stroke. Sci. Transl Med. 9, eaai9084 (2017).
Kang, B. B. et al. Development of a polymer-based tendon-driven wearable robotic hand. 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 3750–3755 (2016).
Polygerinos, P. et al. Soft robotic glove for combined assistance and at-home rehabilitation. Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Special Issue on Wearable Robotics 73, 135–143 (2015).
Roche, E. et al. Soft robotic sleeve supports heart function. Sci. Transl Med. 9, eaaf3925 (2017).
Wu, F. Y. & Asada, H. H. Implicit and intuitive grasp posture control for wearable robotic fingers: a data-driven method using partial least squares. IEEE Trans. Robotics 32, 176–186 (2016).
This Comment is based on knowledge gained from working with a fantastic multidisciplinary team and collaborators with backgrounds in robotics, functional apparel design, industrial design, material science, manufacturing, biomechanics and physical therapy as well as generous support from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
The author is listed as a co-inventor on patents and patent application filed by Harvard University that cover soft wearable robot concepts. In addition, Harvard University has entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with ReWalk Robotics and the author is a paid consultant to ReWalk Robotics.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Walsh, C. Human-in-the-loop development of soft wearable robots. Nat Rev Mater 3, 78–80 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-018-0011-1
High-Performance Perpendicularly-Enfolded-Textile Actuators for Soft Wearable Robots: Design and Realization
IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics (2020)
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics (2020)
Polymer Optical Fiber-Based Integrated Instrumentation in a Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation Smart Environment: A Proof of Concept