ExoFlex aims at accomplishing a soft exoskeleton to rehabilitate the upper-limbs workspace. The system can assist elbow flexion and shoulder flexion and abduction, without constricting other natural motions. Our textile-based approach completely adapts to the user anatomy and reduces the weight on the patient limbs (around 300 gr). Additionally, the heavy parts like motors, power supply and electronics have been moved out of the user to a rigid structure attached to a chair. This approach delivers a fast preparation procedure that allows the clinician to be set in around 10 minutes to start the rehabilitation.

Caption: a) Back view of the motors in the rigid frame. B) jacket and textile couplings c) pulleys and guides for the cables, height-adjustable.

ExoFlex actively monitors the user’s biomechanical position and muscle activity. We use different wearable sensing solutions including flexible sensors (capacitive and resistive), visual trackers, surface electrodes and encoders. Based on this information, a robust sliding mode controller assists the user through different rehabilitation exercises with high precision. In this regard, the controller can deal with uncertainties, disturbances, unmodelled dynamics and variations among subjects.

Caption: Different arrangements of sensors to track shoulder motion.

The project is funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, under the supervision of Manuel Ferre Pérez (m.ferre@upm.es), Miguel Ángel Sánchez-Urán González (miguelangel.sanchezuran@upm.es).

The other active members of the Project team are: José Luis Samper Escudero, Aldo Contreras-González, David Pont Esteban and Francisco Javier Sáez Sáez.

Project’s Difussion and Dissemination

Published Articles:

Conference Papers


  • IROS 2018
  • European Robotics Forum 2020
  • Global Robot Expo 2020 [Virtual Event]