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A State-of-the Art 3D Upper Limb Cable-Driven Rehabilitation Robot 

A State-of-the Art 3D Upper Limb Cable-Driven Rehabilitation Robot 
The new ArmMotus™ EMU is the first 3D back-drivable upper limb cable-driven rehabilitation robot. (Credit: Fourier Intelligence)

Launched in September 2021, the new ArmMotus™ EMU is the first 3D back-drivable upper limb cable-driven rehabilitation robot. 

The ArmMotus™ EMU recently won the Red Dot Design Award—a sort of “Oscar” of the sector as it is the most sought-after industrial design award. The ArmMotus™ EMU was evaluated by over 50 experts, including independent designers, design professors and industry media partners. Among the features they considered were the ergonomics of its design, aesthetics and functionality.

With its highly developed control system which executes and responds to various movements more efficiently, the multifunctional ArmMotus™ EMU sets a new benchmark for intelligent rehabilitation devices and redefines human-machine interaction. 

Professor Denny Oetomo, from the University of Melbourne, said:

“The ArmMotus™ was designed in collaboration with clinicians and various end-users to allow a practical operation, quick setup and the mechanical properties necessary for movement therapy, such as unhindered arm movements by the user in 3D space.”

Watch a demonstration video of the ArmMotus™ EMU robot:

In other words, the ArmMotus™ EMU is the first of its kind to apply an end-effector-based concept to 3D movements. In robotics, an end-effector is a device or tool which is connected to the end of a robot arm. It is the part of the robot that interacts with the environment, and both its structure and the nature of the programming and hardware depend on the task the robot is supposed to perform.

A Cable-Driven Mechanism

Another characteristic of the ArmMotus™ EMU is the minimalist, almost transparent structure deriving from its cable-driven mechanism combined with a 4-linkage, parallel structure made of lightweight carbon. These features effectively reduce friction and inertia during movement, enabling the control system to respond and function more efficiently, improving the level of human-machine interaction.

(Credit: Fourier Intelligence)

Zen Koh, co-founder and Global CEO of Fourier Intelligence, explained:

“The main technical challenge involved in the creation of this device was the fact that, as the motors are based in the center of the body of the EMU, we had to work on balancing its base. Also, the team had to find a cable that was suited for a long life cycle to avoid frequent changes. That is why the ArmMotus™ EMU went through 17 design iterations.”

(Credit: Fourier Intelligence)
(Credit: Fourier Intelligence)

The ArmMotus™ EMU targets upper limb disabilities caused by neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, as well as geriatric conditions. It is able to perform training assessments and can precisely measure trajectory, strength, cognitive ability, range of movement (ROM) and motor control while also generating a report after the training session. The quantifiable data in these reports allows therapists to evaluate the user’s progress and more accurately plan subsequent therapeutic steps.

(Credit: Fourier Intelligence)
(Credit: Fourier Intelligence)

The product’s force feedback technology enables it to simulate a therapist’s hands and support the user in adjusting the assistance or resistance according to different rehabilitation needs. Plus, users benefit from its quick set-up time and can enjoy the various game options.

Zen Koh added:

“Fourier strives to make rehabilitation robots accessible and affordable to empower our clinicians better, and with the launch of the ArmMotus™ EMU, this ensures patient access to life-changing technology.”

Innovative Robotics

Fourier Intelligence is a technology-driven company which has been developing exoskeleton and rehabilitation robotics since 2015. Winner of the 2021 ShanghaiDesign Innovation Centre Award, the company defines its vision as being “the world’s leading enabler of intelligent technologies for human wellbeing” and its mission as being to “transcend innovative robotics, clinically empowering human ability.”

Together with researchers, therapists and patients, it aims to excel in developing and redefining rehabilitation robotics solutions with interconnectable intelligent robotics technology by enhancing user experience with an intuitive, easy-to-use system to the benefit of both patients and therapists.

The creation of the ArmMotus™ EMU came after numerous studies and assessments from a simple wooden prototype and was made possible through a research collaboration between industry (Fourier Intelligence) and academia (the University of Melbourne Robotics Laboratory). The product was launched on the market in September 2021, during the virtual RehabWeek 2021.

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