The development of wearable robots for walking has evolved substantially over the past decade, in particular in terms of actuation, sensing and applications. Less is known regarding how the potential users perceive usefulness of exoskeletons for their own purposes. Current research and development of exoskeleton technology should now focus on and integrate the users’ perspective to better support a satisfactory user experience.
To address this we would be grateful if you, as an academic or industry developer of lower limb exoskeletons for rehabilitation / functional compensation of walking / power augmentation, would please fill in the following questionnaire. All answers are anonymous. Overall results from this survey may be presented at relevant platforms, such as a conference and/or within COST Action CA16116 (Wearable Robots).
User-centered design (UCD) process and usability engineering methods have a fundamental role in designing wearable robots. Usability refers to the ease of use of a product, and the official ISO 9241-11 definition of usability is: “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use”. UCD is an iterative design process in which designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process.
UCD calls for involving users throughout the design process via a variety of research and design techniques so as to create highly usable products for them. The aim of this questionnaire is to obtain knowledge about how users’ point of view is currently included in the development of exoskeletons through experts in wearable robot design. The information collected will provide a basis for further discussion, possibly serving as the first round in a Delphi Method communication of sorts. This discussion may lead to the development of application-speciﬁc guidelines and techniques intended to minimize the gap between users´ expectations and experiences of exoskeleton use.