Robobird: a showcase of comparative- and human-biomechanics integration.
By Suzanne Cox
Suzanne Cox (Penn State), in collaboration with Jonas Rubenson (Penn State) and Greg Sawicki (Georgia Tech), has built a lower limb orthosis for a guinea fowl. She is exploring the musculoskeletal and neural adaptations to wearable robotics and trying to understand the sensory feedback mechanisms by which animals adapt to their use. Here the exoskeleton is a tool to systematically perturb the system to help discern the rules the body uses to tune elastic systems to different environmental conditions.
The Robobird project also offers a novel framework for answering questions about exoskeleton function that are difficult or impossible in humans. For example, the long-term musculoskeletal adaptations to exoskeleton use, or the detailed in vivo loads at the muscle/tendon level can be analyzed.