February 29, 2024

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Robot Uses Machine Learning to Help Users with Mobility Impairments

Researchers have developed an exoskeleton robot that uses a combination of lightweight material engineering and Artificial Intelligence to assist persons with mobility issues. A key feature of the new device is the technology that allows the skeleton to accurately predict the user’s intentions.

Robotic exoskeletons have the potential to help assist an elderly population. In essence, these are suits that people can put on to allow them to exert strength when their old bodies are unable of doing so. The fact that exoskeletons are often hefty and, if not correctly regulated, can behave as hindrances rather than aids has delayed their development. As a result, it’s critical to create exoskeletons that are both lightweight and capable of assisting rather than obstructing the user’s activities.

The current study has two primary components. First, the researchers created a light, carbon fibre-based lower-body exoskeleton that was linked to participants’ thighs and lower legs. The exoskeleton was designed with extremely back-drivable actuators to allow users to move freely even when the actuators were turned off. Furthermore, the research team looked at artificial intelligence to see if it could be used to forecast how the user will move.

They employed a technique known as PU-learning, or positive and unlabeled, to train the exoskeleton to accurately detect the user’s intentions based on muscular activity readings. By combining positively labelled data, which the machine knows is accurate, with other unlabeled data that could be either positive or negative, the PU-classification approach lets artificial intelligence learn from data that isn’t fully labelled.

Participants in the experiment stood up, crossed their legs, leaned forward and repositioned themselves on a chair, all of which can start in the same way. The exoskeleton employed machine learning to predict when they were attempting to stand up and then assisted them in doing so.

The experiment yielded positive results. In scenarios when user behaviour other than the goal sit-to-stand motion can occur, the results were better than conventional systems that employ fully labelled data, indicating that the technology could be generalised to other movements as well. The key finding of our study is that when programming a robot to help human movement, it’s critical to assume that humans will act in ways that aren’t predicted by the learning data.

Many exoskeletons are propelled by springs or motors, and if their joints are not aligned with the user’s, they might cause pain or harm. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) devised a new assessment method to see if an exoskeleton and the person wearing it are moving smoothly and in sync to help manufacturers and users reduce these dangers.

The researchers describe an optical tracking system (OTS) that is similar to the motion capture techniques used by filmmakers to bring computer-generated characters to life. The OTS employs unique cameras that emit light and capture what is reflected back by spherical markers placed on target objects. The position of the labelled items in 3-D space is calculated by a computer. This method was used to track the movement of an exoskeleton and test items attached to its user, dubbed artefacts.

The goal of the current study was to record the motion of the knee, which is one of the body’s more simple joints. They built two prosthetic legs as testbeds to analyse the measurement uncertainty of their innovative approach. One used a store-bought prosthetic knee, while the other used a 3-D-printed knee that looked more like the actual thing. Exoskeletal limbs or test objects affixed to the body were represented by metal plates fastened to the legs with bungee cords.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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