From exoskeletons to lightweight robotic suits, wearable robots are changing dynamically and rapidly, challenging the timeliness of laws and regulatory standards that were not prepared for robots that would help wheelchair users walk again. Simultaneously, experimentation is emerging as a critical component in ensuring safety and compliance with existing norms, although using the knowledge generated is not used for policies yet.
Currently, robot testing zones focus on improving specific prototypes and how to commercialize them. However, experimentation could boost standards by providing further guidance, establishing new safety requirements, reformulating existing criteria, or abandoning specific provisions. PROPELLING's goal is to exploit that potential and help policymakers in tackling novel wearable robots.
Executed within H2020’s EUROBENCH, PROPELLING will use its robot test facilities, software and databases, to execute several experiments with lower-limb exoskeletons. It will also experiment with a varied set of volunteers to investigate how standards should frame different categories of subjects. The information gathered will then serve to put forward specific, informed recommendations to revise technical standards - in particular the ISO 13482:2014 on safety requirements for personal care robots.