ETH Zürich Develops ‘Myoshirt’ to enhance mobility for people with Limited Abilities

Researchers at this organization have developed a wearable exomuscle called 'Myoshirt' for people with restricted upper body mobility.

Myosuit by ETH Zürich

Ageing in general as well as a number of acquired or congenital illnesses can result in upper limb impairments. These disabilities may restrict the use of the upper limbs, making daily tasks difficult and lowering quality of life. The Myoshirt is a wearable, soft, modular robot that supports the upper limb in daily activities. In order to achieve this, the Myoshirt’s two modules—a scapula orthosis and an exosuit—support shoulder stability & shoulder mobility throughout daily tasks.

Gap in the market for people with limited mobility

Different arm movements are needed for daily tasks including cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. These tasks become difficult and quality of life is reduced when arm function is restricted. Many different illnesses may be the root of the underlying deficits. These conditions include traumatic events like strokes or nerve palsies, hereditary diseases like muscle dystrophies, and normal aging.

Recent developments in textile-based assistive technology, such as the Myosuit, have been effectively used to help people walk more easily. The benefits of textile-based assistive devices are numerous. They may be used with everyday wear because they are lightweight. The bulk weight can be put energy-effectively close to the body’s core if powered actuation is necessary. Additionally, by employing cutting-edge control techniques, they may intuitively support the user by serving as an additional set of muscles.

How does it work?

The company ETH Zürich, developed a wearable robot that holds the upper limb against gravity to help with shoulder mobility. The Myoshirt can handle multiarticular movements like reaching with just one motor per arm. To facilitate shoulder elevation & external rotation, assistive torques are produced in a motor unit & delivered via tendons to the shoulder. The user’s movements are recognized and followed using motion & force sensors without the need for additional user input. Due to this, the Myoshirt is an easy-to-use gear that actively aids persons who have upper limb disabilities throughout daily tasks.

The Myoshirt, created by the Sensory Motor Systems Lab at ETH Zurich, has a motor that can move a cable that is woven into the fabric. This cable mimics the movement of the muscle by moving parallel to it. The support can be altered to suit personal tastes and moves consistently with the user’s movements.

Also watch our story on ‘Myoshirt’ for people with Limited Abilities:

ETH Zürich Develops ‘Myoshirt’ to enhance mobility for people with Limited Abilitie

Myoshirt will soon debut in the market!

The researchers recently tested the exoskeleton on 12 subjects, including one with muscular dystrophy, one with spinal cord injury, and ten people without any physical disabilities. The findings demonstrated that the Myoshirt allowed all participants to lift their arms and/or objects for a much longer period of time. Endurance was raised by 30% in healthy subjects but by almost 60% in those with muscular dystrophy. The subject who suffered from spinal cord damage could complete the activities for three times as long.

The prototype will then be put to the test outside of the lab. The gadget now weighs 4 kg, which can be uncomfortable to wear. By concentrating on a single primary purpose—supporting the shoulder when they are being used to lift arms—the researchers hope to reduce the size of the final product.

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