A top-down human-centered approach to exoskeleton design

Schnieders, Thomas
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This dissertation begins, as all good research does, with a thorough review of the literature. The literature is broken into three primary sections covering the early 1960’s when information on exoskeletons was first published up to 1970, then the formative years of 1970 to 2000 where much of the primary technology was developed, and finally 2000 to present where new advancements in battery density, computer processing, and materials leads to more robust and advanced exoskeleton designs. The literature review determines the areas where there is a dearth of research or places needing further examination and lays the groundwork for the development of a design methodology specifically for the design of exoskeletons.

This design methodology is built on the shoulders of prior work and utilizes the Armed Robotic Control for Training in Civilian Law Enforcement, or ARCTiC LawE, as one of multiple test beds for validation. This upper body exoskeleton was designed to assist civilian, military, and law enforcement personnel in the training of accurate, precise, and reliable handgun techniques utilizing a laser-based handgun with similar dimensions, trigger pull, and break action to a Glock ® 19 pistol, common to both public and private security sectors.

The work developed in this dissertation provides an initial methodology for exoskeleton development and provides a case study in the development of exoskeletons as a tool for training healthy individuals. The results of the final studies provided in this dissertation validate the methodology as a viable guide for the design and evaluation of exoskeletons.

Ergonomics, Exoskeleton Analysis, Exoskeleton Design, Exoskeleton Methodology, Human Factors