Humotech Onboard, Vol 1(2) May, 2019

May 10, 2019 | By: Judy Fort Brenneman

New: Caplex Hip Exoskeleton

You asked, we created

The Caplex Hip Exoskeleton connects to the off-board Control System and Actuator Unit via flexible Tether, keeping it lightweight without sacrificing performance.

When it comes to lower body biomechanics and assistive devices, research has often focused on foot and ankle function. This research inevitably raised new questions, leading to rising interest in how the hip functions (and malfunctions). Clearly, better understanding of the hip’s role is crucial to the efficacy of exoskeleton and prosthetic devices.

It’s an area ripe for exploration, so we weren’t surprised when a customer contacted us about the possibility of a hip exoskeleton to use with the Caplex system. We were happy to adjust our new product development schedule to put our hip exo at the head of the line.

The Caplex EXO-004 Hip Exoskeleton is a lightweight, high-performance tethered hip exoskeleton. When used with the Caplex system, it’s a testbed for emulating hip exoskeleton mechanics. It’s easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and adjusts to fit different people.

The EXO-004 can be configured for unilateral or bilateral actuation. Also, each joint can be actively actuated in flexion and extension (with a separate motor for each direction), or with one or the other direction passively actuated with a spring (four configurations: actuated flexion; actuated extension; actuated flexion and extension; and actuated extension plus spring-loaded flexion).

Whether you’re investigating issues of movement assistance or the possibility of a real-world super suit, the EXO-004 can help you design, test, then build.

Caplex EXO-004 Hip Exoskeleton is available separately or as part of a complete Caplex system.

Need help? Start here.

One of the main resources we provide for our customers is extensive on-line support. Here you’ll find everything from user guides and quick-start instructions to tech specs. To access on-line support from the Humotech website, select support from the navigation bar and enter your user name and password. Send us an email to register your account if you don’t have one already.

Can’t find the info or answers you were looking for? Contact us via the online support landing page, and we’ll respond as quickly as we can (usually within 24 hours).

Not a customer yet but have questions? Start with our FAQ, and call or email us for more information.

We’re happy to help!

Customer Spotlight

Karl Zelik, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Karl Zelik and the Pursuit of Super Suits

Karl Zelik and his team at Vanderbilt’s Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (CREATE) are on a quest to create assistive exoskeletons that can integrate seamlessly into daily life and be concealed under everyday clothing. Or, as Dr. Zelik puts it, “We try to blend all the design aspects we love about previous exoskeletons with all the things we love about everyday clothing. Basically, we’re a bunch of adults still dreaming about transforming ourselves into superheroes, and we want our own super suits!”

Zelik and his students Erik Lamers, David Ziemnicki, Matthew Yandell, and Joshua Tacca are currently using Humotech’s Caplex system in three projects and have recently published their first paper describing the design of a low-profile, unpowered ankle exoskeleton that fits under clothes. They used Humotech’s Caplex system for benchtop tests to characterize the holding force of their new under-the-foot friction clutch mechanism. Their new design is the first ankle plantarflexion assistance exoskeleton that can be feasibly worn under ordinary daily clothing without restricting ankle motion and without device components protruding substantially from the shoe, leg, waist, or back.

Caplex System with PRO Ankle-Foot Prosthesis, Vanderbilt CREATE Lab.

The team is also using the Caplex system and components on human in-the-loop optimization of lower back assistance, artificial gastrocnemius, and an exosuit comfort study. In a December 2018 interview by Ivanhoe Broadcast News (published Feb. 7, 2019), Dr. Zelik said that the idea for “smart clothing” to prevent back pain was triggered by his three-year-old son who “insists on getting bigger”—all that lifting and carrying familiar to parents. Back injury and its resulting chronic pain are also one of the leading causes of missed work, not to mention the impact chronic back pain has on every aspect of daily life. The idea behind Zelik’s “smart underwear” is to alleviate the stress and workload, especially for those whose work requires a lot of repetitive lifting or prolonged leaning. The assistive clothing wouldn’t do the work for the user, but it would assist, thereby preventing overuse injury risks.

Behind the Scenes at Humotech:

We’re not in this Alone!

Website Kudos

We’ve received lots of compliments on our recently-launched website, along with a consistent question: Who designed the site?

Meet Brendan Wiant of Wiant Design Works and Humotech’s marketing director.

Brendan is an experienced art director, project manager, and designer. His background includes major exhibit work (trade shows, waysides, museum and nature center exhibits, and more) as well as strategic planning, branding and product graphics, and art direction and design for print and electronic media, as well as website design, for a wide range of clients.

We chose Brendan to lead our marketing and communication efforts because his approach and philosophy are in alignment with Humotech’s commitment to excellence and collaboration. In the same way that we strive to help our customers do the work that moves the entire field forward, Brendan brings together the right people and skill set for each project.

For the website, that meant art direction and graphic design which built on the groundwork we began with Wiant Design Works in our early days. Brendan brought in team members who could create an effective website that works for our readers, whether those readers are researchers with deep expertise, casual readers, or someone in between. The team included Brendan (project management, photo research, design and art direction); Judy Fort Brenneman, Greenfire Creative (story and content development, organization, writing); Bally Design (system overview illustration); Roberto Quesada (early design implementation); and Noah Dziobecki, Dzignspace (final design and interactive implementation).

And yes, we’re willing to share—if you’d like to talk with Brendan about your own marketing, communication, or design needs, contact him here.

The Humotech Website Project Team
Wiant Design Works . | . Greenfire Creative . | . Bally Design . | . Dzignspace

Look for us!

Josh Caputo’s travels are taking him to the ISB/ASB Conference at the TELUS Convention Center in Calgary, Canada. ISB/ASB is the XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics 2019 (ISB 2019), which is being held July 31–August 4 in conjunction with the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB).

If you’re interested in hearing more about how Humotech’s Caplex system can help you “Design—Test—Then Build,” call (412-301-5082) or email to set up a time to talk. We want to know how we can help you in your work!

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