The exoskeleton community is not paying enough attention to ethical, legal, and societal (ELS) considerations in wearable robotics design, claims a group of European researchers, and they have illustrated their point in a short and concise video:
There is more to exoskeleton adoption than just ergonomic testing. This is why addressing ethical, legal, and social issues (ELS) with wearable robots early on is important. The video above highlights two papers that function as a one-to-punch. The first paper focuses on defining what are the ethical, legal, and social issues that are relevant to exoskeletons and wearable robotics. The list was compiled using several workshops with dozens of specialists who were asked to brainstorm and drill down to what is most important. The second paper includes information on how to implement ELS considerations in wearable design, including a flowchart. How exoskeletons are perceived by the user, those around them, and who is responsible for them after their implementation are mission-critical to increasing access to this technology to the billions of people that could potentially be taking advantage of it right now to improve their quality of life.
Both papers highlighted in the video (links below) are free to access in their full text.
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Research performed in the context of COST Action CA16116 on Wearable Robots, by Alexandra Kapeller, Heike Felzmann, Eduard Fosch Villaronga and Ann-Marie Hughes is featured in a short explainer video, pointing towards tools for WR developers and researchers. Animation by Andreas Dassel, from Loco.motion Linköping. The featured research can be found in the following publications:
- Kapeller, A., Felzmann, H., Fosch-Villaronga, E. et al. A Taxonomy of Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Wearable Robots: An Expert Perspective. Sci Eng Ethics 26, 3229–3247 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-020-00…
- Kapeller A, Felzmann H, Fosch-Villaronga E, Nizamis K, Hughes A-M. Implementing Ethical, Legal, and Societal Considerations in Wearable Robot Design. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(15):6705. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156705