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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2011, Article ID 650415, 7 pages
Research Article

Mechanical Performance of Actuators in an Active Orthosis for the Upper Extremities

Institute for Applied Computer Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76344 Karlsruhe, Germany

Received 31 May 2011; Revised 25 August 2011; Accepted 30 September 2011

Academic Editor: Tetsuya Mouri

Copyright © 2011 Roland Wiegand et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of the project OrthoJacket is to develop a lightweight, portable, and active orthosis for the upper limps. The system consists of two special designed fluidic actuators which are used for supporting the elbow function and the internal rotation of the shoulder. A new design of flexible fluid actuator (FFA) is presented that enables more design options of attaching parts, as it is allowed by conventional actuators with a stationary centre of rotation. This advantage and the inherent flexibility and the low weight of this kind of actuator predestined them for the use in exoskeletons, orthoses, and prostheses. The actuator for the elbow generates a maximum torque of 32 Nm; the internal rotation is supported with 7 Nm. Both actuators support the movement with up to 100% of the necessary power. The shells for the arm and forearm are made of carbon reinforced structures in combination with inflatable cushions.