A Bamboo-inspired Exoskeleton (BiEXO) Based on Carbon Fiber for Shoulder and Elbow Joints

Ahmad Zahedi, Yansong Wang, Nathan Lau, Wei Tech Ang, Dingguo Zhang

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This paper presents a novel cable-driven exoskeleton (BiEXO) for the upper limb including shoulder and elbow joints. BiEXO is made of carbon fiber that is inspired by the Bamboo structure. The key components of BiEXO are carbon fiber tubes that mimic bamboo tubes. A combined driver is developed for BiEXO with two cable-driven mechanisms (CDMs) and a power transmission belt (PTB). The CDMs are used for shoulder and elbow flexion/extension movement utilizing cables to mimic the skeletal muscles function, while the PTB system drives a shoulder link to mimic the scapula joint for shoulder abduction/adduction movement. Simulation studies and evaluation experiments were performed to demonstrate the efficacy of the overall system. To determine the strength-to-weight of the bamboo-inspired links and guarantee high buckling strength in the face of loads imposed from the user side to the structure, finite element analysis (FEA) was performed. The results show that the carbon fiber link inspired by bamboo has more strength in comparison to the common long carbon fiber tube. The kinematic configuration was modeled by the modified Denavit-Hartenberg (D-H) notation. The mean absolute error (MAE) was 5.9 mm, and the root-mean-square error (RMSE) was 6 mm. In addition, verification experiments by tracking the trajectory in Cartesian space and the wear trials on a subject were carried out on the BiEXO prototype. The satisfactory results indicate BiEXO to be a promising system for rehabilitation or assistance in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-386
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics
Issue number2
Early online date25 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Key Research and Development Program of China under Grant 2018YFB1307301; in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61761166006; and in part by the International Funding between UoB and NTU under Grant VB-EE3BDZ.


  • bamboo
  • cable-driven mechanism
  • Carbon
  • carbon fiber
  • Elbow
  • Electron tubes
  • exoskeleton
  • Exoskeletons
  • Optical fiber cables
  • Optical fiber sensors
  • rehabilitation robots
  • Shoulder
  • upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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