Predictive Exoskeleton Control for Arm-Motion Augmentation Based on Probabilistic Movement Primitives Combined with a Flow Controller

Marko Jamsek, Tjasa Kunavar, Urban Bobek, Elmar Rueckert, Jan Babic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


There are many work-related repetitive tasks where the application of exoskeletons could significantly reduce the physical effort by assisting the user in moving the arms towards the desired location in space. To make such control more user acceptable, the controller should be able to predict the motion of the user and act accordingly. This letter presents an exoskeleton control method that utilizes probabilistic movement primitives to generate predictions of user movements in real-time. These predictions are used in a flow controller, which represents a novel velocity-field-based exoskeleton control approach to provide assistance to the user in a predictive way. We evaluated our approach with a haptic robot, where a group of twelve participants had to perform movements towards different target locations in the frontal plane. We tested whether we could generalize the predictions for new and unknown target locations whilst providing assistance to the user without changing their kinematic parameters. The evaluation showed that we could accurately predict user movement intentions while at the same time significantly decrease the overall physical effort exerted by the participants to achieve the task.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9387088
Pages (from-to)4417-4424
Number of pages8
Journal IEEE robotics and automation letters
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2016 IEEE.


  • Physical human-robot interaction
  • physically assistive devices
  • prosthetics and exoskeletons

Cite this