A wearable textile-based pneumatic energy harvesting system for assistive robotics


Wearable assistive, rehabilitative, and augmentative devices currently require bulky power supplies, often making these tools more of a burden than an asset. This work introduces a soft, low-profile, textile-based pneumatic energy harvesting system that extracts power directly from the foot strike of a user during walking. Energy is harvested with a textile pump integrated into the insole of the user’s shoe and stored in a wearable textile bladder to operate pneumatic actuators on demand, with system performance optimized based on a mechano-fluidic model. The system recovered a maximum average power of nearly 3 W with over 20% conversion efficiency—outperforming electromagnetic, piezoelectric, and triboelectric alternatives—and was used to power a wearable arm-lift device that assists shoulder motion and a supernumerary robotic arm, demonstrating its capability as a lightweight, low-cost, and comfortable solution to support adults with upper body functional limitations in activities of daily living.

Journal article

Shveda, Rachel A., Rajappan, Anoop, Yap, Te Faye, et al.. "A wearable textile-based pneumatic energy harvesting system for assistive robotics." Science Advances, 8, no. 34 (2022) AAAS: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abo2418.

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