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People with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) lose the ability to move due to severe muscular weakness hindering their activities of daily living (ADL). As a consequence, they have difficulties with remaining independent and have to depend on caregivers. A possible improvement could be achieved with assistive devices to perform ADL and, as a result, to depend less on caregivers. Trunk movement also plays a significant role in most daily tasks. Reaching for a target (e.g., picking up a glass of water) requires trunk coordination with respect to the reaching arm and it is a rather complex motor task. Also, maintaining postural stability during daily tasks needs trunk motions. An active trunk support (which is the focus of this thesis) concentrates on the actuation and control of a passive trunk support. Operating and controlling an active assistive device requires a control interface. The control interface is responsible for converting the intended movement of the user into a device movement. Several control interfaces have been proposed for the control of assistive devices, the most common ones being a joystick, force sensors and sEMG (surface electromyography). We evaluated their performance by building an experimental user-controllable trunk support.

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