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Implementation of Variable Damping to Gait Rehabilitation Technology

Description

Walking ability is a complex process that is essential to humans, critical for performing a range of everyday tasks and enables a healthy, independent lifestyle. Human gait has evolved to be robust, adapting to a wide range of external stimuli,

Walking ability is a complex process that is essential to humans, critical for performing a range of everyday tasks and enables a healthy, independent lifestyle. Human gait has evolved to be robust, adapting to a wide range of external stimuli, including variable walking surface compliance. Unfortunately, many people suffer from impaired gait as a result of conditions such as stroke. For these individuals, recovering their gait is a priority and a challenge. The ASU Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST) is a device that is able to the change its surface compliance through its unique variable stiffness mechanism. By doing this, the VST can be used to investigate gait and has potential as a rehabilitation tool. The objective of this research is to design a variable damping mechanism for the VST, which addresses the need to control effective surface damping, the only form of mechanical impedance that the VST does not currently control. Thus, this project will contribute toward the development of the Variable Impedance Treadmill (VIT), which will encompass a wider range of variable surface compliance and enable all forms of impedance to be con- trolled for the first time. To achieve this, the final design of the mechanism will employ eddy current damping using several permanent magnets mounted to the treadmill and a large copper plate stationed on the ground. Variable damping is obtained by using lead screw mechanisms to remove magnets from acting on the copper plate, which effectively eliminates their effect on damping and changes the overall treadmill surface damping. Results from experimentation validate the mechanism's ability to provide variable damping to the VST. A model for effective surface damping is generated based on open-loop characterization experiments and is generalized for future experimental setups. Overall, this project progresses to the development of the VIT and has potential applications in walking surface simulation, gait investigation, and robot-assisted rehabilitation technology.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Stability of the Human Ankle with Respect to Environmental Mechanics

Description

This study presents quantification of ankle stability as affected by environmental conditions in two degrees of freedom (DOF) with three distinct analysis techniques. Additionally, this study presents gender-specific trends for comparison. Intuitively, ankle stability decreased in less stable environments with

This study presents quantification of ankle stability as affected by environmental conditions in two degrees of freedom (DOF) with three distinct analysis techniques. Additionally, this study presents gender-specific trends for comparison. Intuitively, ankle stability decreased in less stable environments with a negative simulated stiffness. Female subjects generally suffered a greater loss of stability in moderately and highly unstable environments. Both gender groups exhibited greater stability in the sagittal plane than the frontal plane across the entire range of simulated stiffness's. Outcomes of this study are useful in the design of controllers for lower extremity physically-interactive robotics, understanding situations in which the ankle is likely to lose stability, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of unique analysis techniques.

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2017-12

Autonomous Coupling of a UAV and UGV

Description

A heterogeneous team of robots working in symbiosis can maximize their strengths while complementing each other’s weaknesses. These simple robots can achieve more working together than they could on their own but cost less than a single robot with the

A heterogeneous team of robots working in symbiosis can maximize their strengths while complementing each other’s weaknesses. These simple robots can achieve more working together than they could on their own but cost less than a single robot with the same combination of capabilities. This project aims to validate the symbiotic relationship of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) with a physical implementation of a heterogenous team of robots and a demonstration of their capabilities. This paper details the selection of robots, the design of the physical coupling mechanism, and the design of the autonomous controls. An experiment was performed to assess the capabilities of the robots according to four performance criteria. The UGV must navigate a space while the UAV follows. The UAV must couple with the UGV. The UAV must lift the UGV over an obstacle. The UGV must navigate the space while carrying the UAV.

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2019-12

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Development of a Lower Extremity Robotic Device for Ankle Studies

Description

The quality of life of many people is lowered by impediments to walking ability caused by neurological conditions such as strokes. Since the ankle joint plays an important role in locomotion, it is a common subject of study in rehabilitation

The quality of life of many people is lowered by impediments to walking ability caused by neurological conditions such as strokes. Since the ankle joint plays an important role in locomotion, it is a common subject of study in rehabilitation research. Robotic devices such as active ankle-foot orthoses and powered exoskeletons have the potential to be used directly in physical therapy or indirectly in research pursuing more effective rehabilitation methods. This paper presents the LiTREAD, a lightweight three degree-of-freedom robotic exoskeletal ankle device. This novel robotic system is designed to be worn on a user's leg and actuate the foot position during treadmill studies. The robot's sagittal plane actuation is complemented by passive virtual axis systems in the frontal and transverse planes. Together, these degrees of freedom allow the device to approximate the full range of motion of the ankle. The virtual axis mechanisms feature locking configurations that will allow the effect of these degrees of freedom on gait dynamics to be studied. Based on a kinematic analysis of the robot's actuation and geometry, it is expected to meet and exceed its torque and speed targets, respectively. The device will fit either leg of a range of subject sizes, and is expected to weigh just 1.3 kg (2.9 lb.). These features and characteristics are designed to minimize the robot's interference with the natural walking motion. Pending validation studies confirming that all design criteria have been met, the LiTREAD prototype that has been constructed will be utilized in various experiments investigating properties of the ankle such as its mechanical impedance. It is hoped that the LiTREAD will yield valuable data that will expand our knowledge of the ankle and aid in the design of future lower-extremity devices.

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2016-12

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Design and development of rolling and hopping ball robots for low gravity environment

Description

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals.

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals. In-situ exploration of Mars carried out by large SUV-sized rovers that travel long distance, carry sophisticated onboard laboratories to perform soil analysis and sample collection. But their large size and mobility method prevents them from accessing or exploring extreme environments, particularly caves, canyons, cliffs and craters.

This work presents sub- 2 kg ball robots that can roll and hop in low gravity environments. These robots are low-cost enabling for one or more to be deployed in the field. These small robots can be deployed from a larger rover or lander and complement their capabilities by performing scouting and identifying potential targets of interest. Their small size and ball shape allow them to tumble freely, preventing them from getting stuck. Hopping enables the robot to overcome obstacles larger than the size of the robot.

The proposed ball-robot design consists of a spherical core with two hemispherical shells with grouser which act as wheels for small movements. These robots have two cameras for stereovision which can be used for localization. Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and wheel encoder are used for dead reckoning. Communication is performed using Zigbee radio. This enables communication between a robot and a lander/rover or for inter-robot communication. The robots have been designed to have a payload with a 300 gram capacity. These may include chemical analysis sensors, spectrometers and other small sensors.

The performance of the robot has been evaluated in a laboratory environment using Low-gravity Offset and Motion Assistance Simulation System (LOMASS). An evaluation was done to understand the effect of grouser height and grouser separation angle on the performance of the robot in different terrains. The experiments show with higher grouser height and optimal separation angle the power requirement increases but an increase in average robot speed and traction is also observed. The robot was observed to perform hops of approximately 20 cm in simulated lunar condition. Based on theoretical calculations, the robot would be able to perform 208 hops with single charge and will operate for 35 minutes. The study will be extended to operate multiple robots in a network to perform exploration. Their small size and cost makes it possible to deploy dozens in a region of interest. Multiple ball robots can cooperatively perform unique in-situ science measurements and analyze a larger surface area than a single robot alone on a planet surface.

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Date Created
2016

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A friction and adhesion characterization setup for extreme temperatures

Description

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been taken to understand the adhesion mechanism of gecko feet. This work explains the building procedure of custom experimental setup to test the adhesion force over a temperature range and extends its application in space environment, potentially unsafe working condition.

This study demonstrates that these adhesive capable of switching adhesive properties not only at room environment but also over a temperature range of -160 degC to 120 degC in vacuum conditions. These conditions are similar to the condition experienced by a satellite in a space orbiting around the earth. Also, this study demonstrated various detachment and specimen patch preparation methods. The custom-made experimental setup for adhesion test can measure adhesion force in temperature and pressure controlled environment over specimen size of 1 sq. inch. A cryogenic cooling system with liquid nitrogen is used to achieve -160 degC and an electric resistive heating system are used to achieve 120 degC in controlled volume. Thermal electrodes, infrared thermopile detectors are used to record temperature at sample and pressure indicator to record vacuum condition in controlled volume. Reversibility of the switching behaviour of the specimen in controlled environment confirms its application in space and very high or very low-temperature conditions.

The experimental setup was developed using SolidWorks as a design tool, Ansys as simulation tool and the data acquisition utilizes LabVIEW available in the market today.

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Date Created
2016

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A wearable pneumatic device for investigating ankle inversion and eversion in human gait

Description

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans is responsible for generating robust and consistent walking motion over

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans is responsible for generating robust and consistent walking motion over unpredictable ground and through challenging obstacles. One interesting aspect of human gait is the ability to adjust in order to accommodate varying surface grades. Typical approaches to investigating this gait function focus on incline and decline surface angles, but most experiments fail to address the effects of surface grades that cause ankle inversion and eversion. There have been several studies of ankle angle perturbation over wider ranges of grade orientations in static conditions; however, these studies do not account for effects during the gait cycle. Furthermore, contemporary studies on this topic neglect critical sources of unnatural stimulus in the design of investigative technology. It is hypothesized that the investigation of ankle angle perturbations in the frontal plane, particularly in the context of inter-leg coordination mechanisms, results in a more complete characterization of the effects of surface grade on human gait mechanisms. This greater understanding could potentially lead to significant applications in gait rehabilitation, especially for individuals who suffer from impairment as a result of stroke. A wearable pneumatic device was designed to impose inversion and eversion perturbations on the ankle through simulated surface grade changes. This prototype device was fabricated, characterized, and tested in order to assess its effectiveness. After testing and characterizing this device, it was used in a series of experiments on human subjects while data was gathered on muscular activation and gait kinematics. The results of the characterization show success in imposing inversion and eversion angle perturbations of approximately 9° with a response time of 0.5 s. Preliminary experiments focusing on inter-leg coordination with healthy human subjects show that one-sided inversion and eversion perturbations have virtually no effect on gait kinematics. However, changes in muscular activation from one-sided perturbations show statistical significance in key lower limb muscles. Thus, the prototype device demonstrates novelty in the context of human gait research for potential applications in rehabilitation.

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Date Created
2016

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Development and Performance of a Screw-Propelled ISRU Excavation System

Description

Regolith excavation systems are the enabling technology that must be developed in order to implement many of the plans for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) that have been developed in recent years to aid in creating a lasting human presence on

Regolith excavation systems are the enabling technology that must be developed in order to implement many of the plans for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) that have been developed in recent years to aid in creating a lasting human presence on the surface of the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies. The majority of proposed ISRU excavation systems are integrated onto a wheeled mobility system, however none yet have proposed the use of a screw-propelled vehicle, which has the potential to augment and enhance the capabilities of the excavation system. As a result, CASPER, a novel screw-propelled excavation rover is developed and analyzed to determine its effectiveness as a ISRU excavation system. The excavation rate, power, velocity, cost of transport, and a new parameter, excavation transport rate, are analyzed for various configurations of the vehicle through mobility and excavation tests performed in silica sand. The optimal configuration yielded a 28.4 kg/hr excavation rate and11.2 m/min traverse rate with an overall system mass of 3.4 kg and power draw of26.3 W. CASPER’s mobility and excavation performance results are compared to four notable proposed ISRU excavation systems of various types. The results indicate that this architecture shows promise as an ISRU excavator because it provides significant excavation capability with low mass and power requirements.

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Date Created
2021

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Indicators of Anticipated Walking Surface Transitions for Powered Prosthetic Control

Description

Human locomotion is an essential function that enables individuals to lead healthy, independent lives. One important feature of natural walking is the capacity to transition across varying surfaces, enabling an individual to traverse complex terrains while maintaining balance. There has

Human locomotion is an essential function that enables individuals to lead healthy, independent lives. One important feature of natural walking is the capacity to transition across varying surfaces, enabling an individual to traverse complex terrains while maintaining balance. There has been extensive work regarding improving prostheses' performance in changing walking conditions, but there is still a need to address the transition from rigid to compliant or dynamic surfaces, such as the transition from pavement to long grass or soft sand. This research aims to investigate the mechanisms involved such transitions and identify potential indicators of the anticipated change that can be applied to the control of a powered ankle prosthetic to reduce falls and improve stability in lower-limb amputees in a wider range of walking environments. A series of human subject experiments were conducted using the Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST) to control walking surface compliance while gait kinematics and muscular activation data were collected from three healthy, nondisabled subjects. Specifically, the kinematics and electromyography (EMG) profiles of the gait cycles immediately preceding and following an expected change in surface compliance were compared to that of normal, rigid surface walking. While the results do not indicate statistical differences in the EMG profiles between the two modes of walking, the muscle activation appears to be qualitatively different from inspection of the data. Additionally, there were promising statistically significant changes in joint angles, especially in observed increases in hip flexion during the swing phases both before and during an expected change in surface. Decreases in ankle flexion immediately before heel strike on the perturbed leg were also observed to occur simultaneously with decreases in tibialis anterior (TA) muscle activation, which encourages additional research investigating potential changes in EMG profiles. Ultimately, more work should be done to make strong conclusions about potential indicators of walking surface transitions, but this research demonstrates the potential of EMG and kinematic data to be used in the control of a powered ankle prosthetic.

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Date Created
2018

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Gait Dynamic Stability Analysis with Wearable Assistive Robots

Description

Lower-limb wearable assistive robots could alter the users gait kinematics by inputting external power, which can be interpreted as mechanical perturbation to subject normal gait. The change in kinematics may affect the dynamic stability. This work attempts to understand the

Lower-limb wearable assistive robots could alter the users gait kinematics by inputting external power, which can be interpreted as mechanical perturbation to subject normal gait. The change in kinematics may affect the dynamic stability. This work attempts to understand the effects of different physical assistance from these robots on the gait dynamic stability.

A knee exoskeleton and ankle assistive device (Robotic Shoe) are developed and used to provide walking assistance. The knee exoskeleton provides personalized knee joint assistive torque during the stance phase. The robotic shoe is a light-weighted mechanism that can store the potential energy at heel strike and release it by using an active locking mechanism at the terminal stance phase to provide push-up ankle torque and assist the toe-off. Lower-limb Kinematic time series data are collected for subjects wearing these devices in the passive and active mode. The changes of kinematics with and without these devices on lower-limb motion are first studied. Orbital stability, as one of the commonly used measure to quantify gait stability through calculating Floquet Multipliers (FM), is employed to asses the effects of these wearable devices on gait stability. It is shown that wearing the passive knee exoskeleton causes less orbitally stable gait for users, while the knee joint active assistance improves the orbital stability compared to passive mode. The robotic shoe only affects the targeted joint (right ankle) kinematics, and wearing the passive mechanism significantly increases the ankle joint FM values, which indicates less walking orbital stability. More analysis is done on a mechanically perturbed walking public data set, to show that orbital stability can quantify the effects of external mechanical perturbation on gait dynamic stability. This method can further be used as a control design tool to ensure gait stability for users of lower-limb assistive devices.

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Date Created
2018