Chenzhang Xiao

Photograph Chenzhang Xiao
Title PhD Candidate
Department Mechanical Science & Engineering

B.S./M.S. Combined Program, Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Human Dynamics and Control Lab and I am very interested in development of assistive devices and improve the locomotion of people with disability.

I worked on Pneumatic Ergonomic Crutches (PEC) project for my Master thesis. We developed an upper extremity orthosis using the soft pneumatic actuator to help with crutch users in terms of wrist posture improvement, loading sharing between forearm and wrist as well as redirection of palmar pressure concentration. In addition, to build a self-contained system, we also designed an energy-harvesting system that was able to collect and store pneumatic energy during crutch gait. I would like to continue to work on the application of soft robotics in human assistive devices and to explore how we can use the currently available technologies to better help people with disabilities.

Current Project

  • Test and validate the biomechanical effects of the custom energy-harvesting piston pump on crutch gait
  • The effect of pneumatic sleeve orthosis on crutch gait performance
  • Design compliant crutch cuff to support user’s forearm only when loaded

Research Interests

  • Human Assistive Devices
  • Wearable Sensing
  • Soft Robotics
  • Bio-Inspired Design

Personal Interests

  • Guitar
  • Photography
  • Skiing

Email: cxiao3(AT)illinois(DOT)edu