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July 23, 2013 | Fullbody Exoskeleton at SIGGRAPH 2013


Developed entirely in the Ile-de-France region by CEA LIST, EMY (Enhancing MobilitY) is a full-body exoskeleton designed to help quadriplegic people regain mobility.

Packed full with innovative technology, EMY is the fruit of 10 years of research by CEA LIST's interactive robotics unit and draws on extensive expertise in force control actuation, as well as the associated innovative robotic architectures.



EMY's architecture features four limbs: two legs with three degrees of freedom each, and two ABLE anthropomorphic arms with seven degrees of freedom each. To enable control by a quadriplegic patient, the exoskeleton will ultimately be controlled via a brain-computer interface - or BCI - called WIMAGINE®, developed by CEA LETI at Clinatec. The interface between the BCI and the exoskeleton will be ensured by a physics-simulation engine called XDE, also developed by CEA LIST. XDE is a haptic tool that simulates movement, contact and friction between virtual objects. This simulation layer allows EMY to be controlled at different levels of complexity, from the control of simple joint movements to abstract tasks coordinating the use of several limbs. As of 2014, it will also be capable of keeping the machine properly balanced.

EMY Alex

The exoskeleton can also be used to control virtual reality physics simulation for industrial applications associated with “digital factory” design. These applications are being rapidly developed to reduce production set-up costs.

Thus, ABLE arms can not only control the movements of simulated objects, but also feed back the contact forces between them. Each of EMY's seven joints is equipped with a screw-cable system that exactly reproduces contact forces along the entire arm, doing away with the need for a force sensor (this function is fulfilled by the motor). Such outstanding performance is also due to the unique, lightweight, streamlined architecture which fits the human arm perfectly, without closing it in.
The ABLE exoskeleton can thus perform realistic simulations of manual tasks involving contacts distributed along the entire length of the arm, for example when fitting parts inside “crowded” structures. It can also be used as an operator workstation assistant to make work less strenuous and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. It does this by evenly distributing the effort when operators are holding tools and balancing part of their arm.