Peer Review

Peer review paper: 

Trung Thien Hoang, Luke Sy, Mattia Bussu, Mai Thanh Thai, Harrison Low, Phuoc Thien Phan, James Davies, Chi Cong Nguyen, Nigel H. Lovell, and Thanh Nho Do. A Wearable Soft Fabric Sleeve for Upper Limb Augmentation. Sensors, 21(22):7638, January 2021.

1. Do you have any conflict of interest in reviewing this paper? A “conflict of interest” is defined as follows:


2. Expertise. Provide your expertise in the topic area of this paper.

1 – No Knowledge

3. Summary. Please summarize what you believe are the paper’s main contributions to the field of soft robotics.

Because soft robots can interact with humans, they are used in many wearable devices. The main problem at the moment is the poor experience caused by the ductility of the material and the slow response time of the system. To solve the material problem, they used rubber tubes instead of non-extendable fibers. At the same time, the authors have developed a liquid metal-based piezoresistive sensor to track the non-linear system response problem. This technology could be used in the future for therapeutic, defense and industrial applications.

4. Strengths and Weaknesses. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of this work? Does the paper have strengths in originality and novelty?

The strength of the article is the detailed description of the human tissue corresponding to each mechanical part, for example by varying the fluid pressure to increase the torque around the elbow joint to achieve arm flexion in a specific direction. The authors also take full account of the mechanics, using fabric around the chest to enhance structural stability. They also take into account the use of Velcro straps to avoid undesirable muscle deformations caused by excessive mechanical movements. I think the downside of the article is that all the experiments and examples are too narrow in terms of the scenarios in which they can be applied. One can only use the material in the article to achieve certain results. I think the article is originality and novelty. the authors have solved the problem of the weight of the wearable exoskeleton device to a certain extent, while the device has enough strength to assist human movement.

5. Soundness. Are the ideas, algorithms, results or studies technologically/methodologically sound?

I think the ideas and algorithms in this article are sound. In order to ensure that the fluid can flow smoothly in the pipe and provide sufficient pressure, the authors have provided extensive algorithmic simulations and material-related knowledge to ensure that the mechanism works smoothly even in a non-linear situation.

6. Does the paper adequately describe related and prior work?
Please write a sentence or short paragraph.

I think this article has been well prepared. The design team has built a successful exoskeleton and experimented with it to obtain the extensive data and algorithms in the article.

7.  Is the paper well organized, well written and clearly presented?
Please write a sentence or short paragraph.

This article is well organised. It begins with a brief introduction to what the whole article will contain and presents the problems faced by the current wearable device. The middle section explains how the design team solved the problem through several experiments and used the device to lift heavy objects or to help humans perform actions. In the conclusion, the authors describe the possible applications of the technology and its contribution to humanity.

8. Do you have suggestions for improving this paper?
Please write several paragraphs detailing specific points of the paper which merit reconsideration. Be sure to address the text, figures and tables, mathematics, and grammar and spelling.

Firstly, I think the article could have been enhanced above the figure. For example, figure1 only briefly describes the components of this wearable device. If the reader wants more clarity and precise detail, the author should add pictures to explain the textual content. Although the author uses a lot of text to justify his research, multiple photos about the details could greatly help those who want to understand this field.

Second, regarding the composition of the article I think it could be improved. In the introductory section, the authors point out the importance of materials in wearable soft robots. However, in the second part, “Materials and Methods”, the authors do not go into detail about the data and properties of materials. Almost all of the content is about how to properly assemble and make the device “move”. I think an introduction to the use of materials would have helped the reader to understand the text more easily.

9. Comments to Committee (Hidden from authors). Does the paper have enough originality and importance to merit publication? Is the paper relevant to the field? These comments will NOT be sent to the authors:

I believe the paper have enough originality and importance to merit publication. This article is about the study of wearable robots for the upper limbs. The article analyses the areas of application of wearable robots and the current problems faced. In the content section, the authors use ample experiments and data to demonstrate the feasibility of new materials and liquid pressure devices. The research component of the article addresses to some extent the power and weight balance of wearable soft robots. I think this brings new ideas to the field of wearable robotics. Therefore this article is worth publishing.

10. Overall Rating. Provide your overall rating of the paper (5 is best)

5 – Definite accept: I would argue strongly for accepting this paper.

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