SAFIRE develops and implements a safety approach specific for operation of rehabilitation robots that relies on force sensors. Rehabilitation robots are connected to the limbs of human users and support or control their motion for motor training and movement therapy as part of (neuro-)rehabilitation.
The needed exchange of mechanical energy between robot and human poses an intrinsic safety issue: a risk of creating movements or forces that are dangerous for the person in training.
Currently, there is a trend to aim at an “Assist-as-Needed” support, where the robot detects what the subject is doing, or able to do, and adjusts its support accordingly. Although this approach has been explored in academic research, its application in medical devices in clinics is still limited, in part due to possible safety issues, as well as due to costs and effort of making a certifiable safe implementation.
SAFIRE aims to contribute to achieving a certifiable safety approach in this context.