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Human-in-the-loop development of soft wearable robots

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.

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Fig. 1: Human-in-the-loop development of soft wearable robots.

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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.

Competing interests

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.

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Correspondence to Conor Walsh.

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Walsh, C. Human-in-the-loop development of soft wearable robots. Nat Rev Mater 3, 78–80 (2018).

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