Developments in hardware systems of active upper-limb exoskeleton robots: A review

R. A.R.C. Gopura, D. S.V. Bandara, Kazuo Kiguchi, G. K.I. Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Citations (Scopus)


The very first application of active exoskeleton robot was to provide external power to a soldier so that he can carry additional weight than his strength. Since then this technology has focused on developing systems for assisting and augmenting human power. Later this technology is expanded into other applications such as limb rehabilitation and tele-operations. Exoskeleton research is still a growing area and demands multi-disciplinary approaches in solving complex technical issues. In this paper, the developments of active upper-limb exoskeleton robots are reviewed. This paper presents the major developments occurred in the history, the key milestones during the evolution and major research challenges in the present day context of hardware systems of upper-limb exoskeleton robots. Moreover, the paper provides a classification, a comparison and a design overview of mechanisms, actuation and power transmission of most of the upper-limb exoskeleton robots that have been found in the literature. A brief review on the control methods of upper-limb exoskeleton robots is also presented. At the end, a discussion on the future directions of the upper-limb exoskeleton robots was included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


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