ICORR 2013 WORKSHOP: Design and Control of Robotic Exoskeletons with Compliant Joints and Actuation Systems

We invite you to Seattle for the 13th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), on the University of Washington campus, June 24-26, 2013. This biannual international IEEE conference will highlight current research from the world's leading research labs and clinics in the field of rehabilitation robotics. ICORR Workshops are included with full conference registration. We hope you will join us for the following workshop:

Design and Control of Robotic Exoskeletons with Compliant Joints and Actuation Systems
Wednesday, June 26, 13:45-18:15

The workshop will feature invited speakers and a rapid-fire session where attendees can present preliminary research results or summaries of emerging topics related to the workshop topic.


Ashish D. Deshpande, PhD
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director of the ReNeu Robotics Lab
University of Texas, Austin
ashish [at] austin [dot] utexas [dot] edu               

Marcia O’Malley
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director of the MAHI Lab
Rice University
omalleym [at] rice [dot] edu

Statement of Objectives:

Robotic exoskeleton systems provide a promising avenue for assisting stroke patients to recover motor function and for easing the burden of labor intensive, highly repetitive, and therefore, costly conventional physical therapy. Design of robotic exoskeletons is challenging due to the limits on size and weight, and the need to address technical challenges in areas ranging from biomechanics, rehabilitation, actuation, sensing, physical human-robot interaction, and control based on the user intent. Since the exoskeletons are meant to be in a close physical contact with the subjects, a synergistic approach that accounts for the coupled human-robot system may be necessary.

Recently novel robotic designs, including exoskeleton designs, have been introduced with compliance at the joints and actuation. The goal of this workshop is to understand the effects of introduction of compliance on the overall performance of the robotic systems, and to explore how compliant actuation and transmission may be advantageous in exoskeleton designed for rehabilitation.

Compliance plays a critical role in the human movements, for example, in walking and object manipulation, so it seems reasonable that exoskeletons with compliance may perform better than rigid exoskeletons. One big advantage of compliance is that it may lead to safer interactions by allowing for the user to push against the robot. Also by introducing appropriate compliance in the exoskeletons, specific impedance may be introduced at the human-robot interaction, which may lead to better controls and more comfort for the user. And compliance can also be utilized as a low-cost for force sensing, especially, in the case of series elastic actuation.

The overall objective of the proposed workshop is to provoke a discussion on why introducing compliance might be beneficial, to gain insights into what we really add and loose, to generalize findings across robotic systems (humanoids, industrial arms, mobile manipulators), and to identify specific effects in case of exoskeletons for rehabilitation (walking, shoulder-arm rehabilitation and wrist-hand rehabilitation).

Intended Audience:

  • Researchers interested in the design and control of novel exoskeleton systems
  • Researchers interested in the design and development of novel robotic actuators
  • Students and researchers interested in learning about the state-of-the-art in rehabilitation robot design


1:45 PM                       Welcome, Introductions (Deshpande, O’Malley)
2:00 PM – 3:40 PM      Invited talks (5 @ 20 min each)
3:40 PM – 4:00 PM      Coffee Break
4:00 PM - 4:40 PM      Short Talks (4 @ 10 min each)
4:40 PM – 6:00 PM      Invited talks (4 @ 20 min each)
6:00 PM – 6:15 PM      Discussion and Closing (Deshpande, O’Malley)

Invited and Short Talks:





Talk Title

Carloni, Raffaella

2:00 - 2:20 

University of Twente

r [dot] carloni [at] utwente [dot] nl

Variable stiffness actuators for locomotion

Deshpande, Ashish

2:20 – 2:40

The University of Texas at Austin

ashish [at] austin [dot] utexas [dot] edu

Effects of Introduction of Compliance in Actuation VS at Joints in Rehabilitation Robots

Keller, Urs

2:40 – 3:00

ETH Zurich

urs [dot] keller [at] hest [dot] ethz [dot] ch

Compliant Robots for Pediatric Arm Rehabilitation

Masia, Lorenzo

3:30 – 3:20

Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia

Lorenzo [dot] Masia [at] iit [dot] it

Variable Impedance actuation principles for Emerging Assistive/rehabilitation Systems

Neuhaus, Peter

3:20 – 3:40


pneuhaus [at] ihmc [dot] us

Design and Evaluation of IHMC’s Force Controllable Actuators


Kamran Shamaei, Gregory S. Sawicki, and Aaron M. Dollar

4:00 – 4:10

Yale University and North Carolina State University

kamran [dot] shamaei [at] yale [dot] edu

Subject-specific Predictive Models of Lower-limb Joint Quasi-stiffness and Applications in Exoskeleton

Robert Horst

4:10 – 4:20


bhorst [at] alter-g [dot] com

Bionic Leg Actuators

J. Geeroms, B. Brackx, K. Junius, B. Vanderborght, D. Lefeber

4:20 – 4:30

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

jgeeroms [at] vub [dot] ac [dot] be

Design of variable compliance actuators in exoskeletons at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Haoyang Yu

4:30 – 4:40

National University of Singapore

ieyhy [at] nus [dot] edu [dot] sg

A Portable Knee Ankle Foot Robot with Compact Compliant Actuator

O’Malley, Marcia

4:40 – 5:00

Rice University

omalleym [at] rice [dot] edu

Design and Evaluation of a Robot with Series Compliance for Wrist Rehabilitation

Sergi, Fabrizio

5:00 – 5:20

Universita’ Campus Bio-Medico Di Roma and Rice University

fabs [at] rice [dot] edu

A non-anthropomorphic wearable robot for locomotion assistance with series elastic actuators

Van der Kooij, Herman

5:20 – 5:40

University of Twente

h [dot] vanderkooij [at] tudelft [dot] nl

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Series Elastic Actuators in Rehabilitation Robotics

Walsh, Conor

5:40 – 6:00

Harvard University

walsh [at] seas [dot] harvard [dot] edu

Soft Wearable Robots for Gait Assistance


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