Admittance control arm support for individuals with upper extremity weakness


Admittance control arm support for individuals with upper extremity weakness

NJIT Case No. 17-027


Inventors:  Richard Foulds, Madeline Corrigan


Intellectual Property & Development status: Patent Protection is pending.

NJIT is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Technology Brief:

Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Department of Biomedical Engineering have developed and fabricated a novel motorized arm support for individuals with limited upper extremity strength to achieve a greater degree of independence in activities of daily living.


Individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and individuals with upper extremity weakness due to other disabilities have limited arm function despite residual muscle

strength. The muscle strength that remains is insufficient to lift the arms against gravity, limiting active range of motion. Passive arm supports attempt to increase active range of

motion by passively supporting the arm against gravity but are not widely used because of their inexact gravity compensation and the requirements of sufficient strength from the user

to overcome the inertia of the device. Similarly, reaching and grasping robots, wheelchair-mountable devices that perform reaching and grasping tasks for the user, are not widely

used as they require unintuitive user interfaces requiring significant time to complete simple tasks. The invention is a novel motorized arm support in which antigravity support is provided and the motion of the device is based on the real-time force applied by the user by using admittance control. Admittance control is a robotic control paradigm that maps the user’s applied force to the motion of a robot and allows for the use of residual muscle strength to intuitively control the motion of a powerful robot without the requirement of strength sufficient to overcome gravity and the friction and inertia of the robot.



•       Safe and intuitive

•       Compliant control

•       Precise gravity compensation

•       Minimizes force



•       Muscular dystrophy

•       Upper extremity weakness


Inventors Bio:

Richard Foulds is an associate professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NJIT. His research interests include neuromusular/rehabilitation engineering; neural control of human movement; machine recognition of human gesture; gesture dynamics; telemanipulation; haptic and kinesthetic systems; multimodal human/machine interaction; and mechatronics.

Foulds, a prominent figure in the emerging field of biomedical engineering, has pioneered a new way to educate engineers known as the studio method, in which professors teach the fundamentals of engineering not by theoretical lecture and dry recitation but by active learning. The NJIT Student Senate recently named him Teacher of the Year. In addition, he is a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of America.


Madeline C. Corrigan is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  She received her B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2010 and her M.S. degree in biomedical engineering from NJIT in 2013.  She went on to complete her doctoral work at NJIT, earning her Ph.D. in May of 2017.  From 2012 to present, she has led the research and development efforts of upper extremity exoskeleton technologies for individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) as a part of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wearable Robotics.  She has an extensive background in volunteer and personal care work for individuals with disabilities that sparked a personal and professional commitment to the development of assistive technologies that increase independence for these individuals and a unique, user-centered approach to design.  Dr. Corrigan is the co-principal investigator with Dr. Richard Foulds on a grant from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) in which 30 individuals with DMD from across the country are evaluating the exoskeleton technology in their homes and communities.



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Simon Nynens
VP, Business Incubation
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Madeline Corrigan
Richard Foulds
Patent Pending
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