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DEVELOPMENT OF A SOFT ROBOTIC THIRD ARM

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For my thesis I worked in ASU’s Bio-Inspired Mechatronics lab on a project lead by PhD student Pham H. Nguyen (Berm) to develop an assistive soft robotic supernumerary limb. I contributed to the design and evaluation of two prototypes: the

For my thesis I worked in ASU’s Bio-Inspired Mechatronics lab on a project lead by PhD student Pham H. Nguyen (Berm) to develop an assistive soft robotic supernumerary limb. I contributed to the design and evaluation of two prototypes: the silicon based Soft Poly Limb (SPL) and one bladder-based fabric arm, the fabric Soft Poly Limb (fSPL). For both arms I was responsible for the design of 3D printed components (molds, end caps, etc.) as well as the evaluation of the completed prototypes by comparing the actual performance of the arms to the finite element predictions. I contributed to the writing of two published papers describing the design and evaluation of the two arms. After the completion of the fSPL I attempted to create a quasi-static model of the actuators driving the fSPL.

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2019-05

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Lower Limb Gait Simulator Based on a Pure External Force

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For the past two decades, advanced Limb Gait Simulators and Exoskeletons have been developed to improve walking rehabilitation. A Limb Gait Simulator is used to analyze the human step cycle and/or assist a user walking on a treadmill. Most modern

For the past two decades, advanced Limb Gait Simulators and Exoskeletons have been developed to improve walking rehabilitation. A Limb Gait Simulator is used to analyze the human step cycle and/or assist a user walking on a treadmill. Most modern limb gait simulators, such as ALEX, have proven themselves effective and reliable through their usage of motors, springs, cables, elastics, pneumatics and reaction loads. These mechanisms apply internal forces and reaction loads to the body. On the other hand, external forces are those caused by an external agent outside the system such as air, water, or magnets. A design for an exoskeleton using external forces has seldom been attempted by researchers. This thesis project focuses on the development of a Limb Gait Simulator based on a Pure External Force and has proven its effectiveness in generating torque on the human leg. The external force is generated through air propulsion using an Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) motor. Such a motor is typically used for remote control airplanes, but their applications can go beyond this. The objective of this research is to generate torque on the human leg through the control of the EDF engines thrust and the opening/closing of the reverse thruster flaps. This device qualifies as "assist as needed"; the user is entirely in control of how much assistance he or she may want. Static thrust values for the EDF engine are recorded using a thrust test stand. The product of the thrust (N) and the distance on the thigh (m) is the resulting torque. With the motor running at maximum RPM, the highest torque value reached was that of 3.93 (Nm). The motor EDF motor is powered by a 6S 5000 mAh LiPo battery. This torque value could be increased with the usage of a second battery connected in series, but this comes at a price. The designed limb gait simulator demonstrates that external forces, such as air, could have potential in the development of future rehabilitation devices.

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2016-12

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Exoskeletal Hand Fixture for use with Tool Balancing arm for Packing/Warehouse Applications

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Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture

Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture to be used in conjunction with a powered exoskeleton arm to aid workers performing box lifting types of tasks. Existing products aimed at improving worker comfort and productivity typically employ either fully powered exoskeleton suits or utilize minimally powered spring arms and/or fixtures. These designs either reduce stress to the user's body through powered arms and grippers operated via handheld controls which have limited functionality, or they use a more minimal setup that reduces some load, but exposes the user's hands and wrists to injury by directing support to the forearm. The design proposed here seeks to strike a balance between size, weight, and power requirements and also proposes a novel wrist exoskeleton design which minimizes stress on the user's wrists by directly interfacing with the object to be picked up. The design of the wrist exoskeleton was approached through initially selecting degrees of freedom and a ROM (range of motion) to accommodate. Feel and functionality were improved through an iterative prototyping process which yielded two primary designs. A novel "clip-in" method was proposed to allow the user to easily attach and detach from the exoskeleton. Designs utilized a contact surface intended to be used with dry fibrillary adhesives to maximize exoskeleton grip. Two final designs, which used two pivots in opposite kinematic order, were constructed and tested to determine the best kinematic layout. The best design had two prototypes created to be worn with passive test arms that attached to the user though a specially designed belt.

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2016-12

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Design and development of a passive prosthetic ankle

Description

In this work, different passive prosthetic ankles are studied. It is observed that complicated designs increase the cost of production, but simple designs have limited functionality. A new design for a passive prosthetic ankle is presented that is simple to

In this work, different passive prosthetic ankles are studied. It is observed that complicated designs increase the cost of production, but simple designs have limited functionality. A new design for a passive prosthetic ankle is presented that is simple to manufacture while having superior functionality. This prosthetic ankle design has two springs: one mimicking Achilles tendon and the other mimicking Anterior-Tibialis tendon. The dynamics of the prosthetic ankle is discussed and simulated using Working model 2D. The simulation results are used to optimize the springs stiffness. Two experiments are conducted using the developed ankle to verify the simulation It is found that this novel ankle design is better than Solid Ankle Cushioned Heel (SACH) foot. The experimental data is used to find the tendon and muscle activation forces of the subject wearing the prosthesis using OpenSim. A conclusion is included along with suggested future work.

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Date Created
2017

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Development of an Aerial Porter Exoskeleton and Exoskeleton Standardization Metrics

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As the world moves towards faster production times, quicker shipping, and overall, more demanding schedules, the humans caught in the loop are subject to physical duress causing them to physically break down and have muscular skeletal injuries. Surprisingly, with more

As the world moves towards faster production times, quicker shipping, and overall, more demanding schedules, the humans caught in the loop are subject to physical duress causing them to physically break down and have muscular skeletal injuries. Surprisingly, with more automation in logistics houses, the remaining workers must be quicker and do more, again resulting in muscular-skeletal injuries. To help alleviate this strain, a class of robotics and wearables has arisen wherein the human is assisted by a worn mechanical device. These devices, traditionally called exoskeletons, fall into two general categories: passive and active. Passive exoskeletons employ no electronics to activate their assistance and instead typically rely on the spring-like qualities of many materials. These are generally lighter weight than their active counterparts, but also lack the assistive power and can even interfere in other routine operations. Active exoskeletons, on the other hand, aim to avoid as much interference as possible by using electronics and power to assist the wearer. Properly executed, this can deliver power at the most opportune time and disengage from interference when not needed. However, if the tuning is mismatched from the human, it can unintentionally increase loads and possibly lead to other future injuries or harm. This dissertation investigates exoskeleton technology from two vantage points: the designer and the consumer. In the first, the creation of the Aerial Porter Exoskeleton (APEx) for the US Air Force (USAF). Testing of this first of its kind exoskeleton revealed a peak metabolic savings of 8.13% as it delivers 30 N-m of torque about each hip. It was tested extensively in live field conditions over 8 weeks to great success. The second section is an exploration of different commercially available exoskeletons and the development of a common set of standards/testing protocols is described. The results show a starting point for a set of standards to be used in a rapidly growing sector.

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Date Created
2021