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Lower Limb Gait Simulator Based on a Pure External Force

Description

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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Created

Date Created
2016-12

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

Description

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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Date Created
2016-12

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On ehancing myoelectric interfaces by exploiting motor learning and flexible muscle synergies

Description

Myoelectric control is lled with potential to signicantly change human-robot interaction.

Humans desire compliant robots to safely interact in dynamic environments

associated with daily activities. As surface electromyography non-invasively measures

limb motion intent and correlates with joint stiness during co-contractions,

it has been identied

Myoelectric control is lled with potential to signicantly change human-robot interaction.

Humans desire compliant robots to safely interact in dynamic environments

associated with daily activities. As surface electromyography non-invasively measures

limb motion intent and correlates with joint stiness during co-contractions,

it has been identied as a candidate for naturally controlling such robots. However,

state-of-the-art myoelectric interfaces have struggled to achieve both enhanced

functionality and long-term reliability. As demands in myoelectric interfaces trend

toward simultaneous and proportional control of compliant robots, robust processing

of multi-muscle coordinations, or synergies, plays a larger role in the success of the

control scheme. This dissertation presents a framework enhancing the utility of myoelectric

interfaces by exploiting motor skill learning and

exible muscle synergies for

reliable long-term simultaneous and proportional control of multifunctional compliant

robots. The interface is learned as a new motor skill specic to the controller,

providing long-term performance enhancements without requiring any retraining or

recalibration of the system. Moreover, the framework oers control of both motion

and stiness simultaneously for intuitive and compliant human-robot interaction. The

framework is validated through a series of experiments characterizing motor learning

properties and demonstrating control capabilities not seen previously in the literature.

The results validate the approach as a viable option to remove the trade-o

between functionality and reliability that have hindered state-of-the-art myoelectric

interfaces. Thus, this research contributes to the expansion and enhancement of myoelectric

controlled applications beyond commonly perceived anthropomorphic and

\intuitive control" constraints and into more advanced robotic systems designed for

everyday tasks.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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Transfer of motor learning from a virtual to real task using EEG signals resulting from embodied and abstract thoughts

Description

This research is focused on two separate but related topics. The first uses an electroencephalographic (EEG) brain-computer interface (BCI) to explore the phenomenon of motor learning transfer. The second takes a closer look at the EEG-BCI itself and tests an

This research is focused on two separate but related topics. The first uses an electroencephalographic (EEG) brain-computer interface (BCI) to explore the phenomenon of motor learning transfer. The second takes a closer look at the EEG-BCI itself and tests an alternate way of mapping EEG signals into machine commands. We test whether motor learning transfer is more related to use of shared neural structures between imagery and motor execution or to more generalized cognitive factors. Using an EEG-BCI, we train one group of participants to control the movements of a cursor using embodied motor imagery. A second group is trained to control the cursor using abstract motor imagery. A third control group practices moving the cursor using an arm and finger on a touch screen. We hypothesized that if motor learning transfer is related to the use of shared neural structures then the embodied motor imagery group would show more learning transfer than the abstract imaging group. If, on the other hand, motor learning transfer results from more general cognitive processes, then the abstract motor imagery group should also demonstrate motor learning transfer to the manual performance of the same task. Our findings support that motor learning transfer is due to the use of shared neural structures between imaging and motor execution of a task. The abstract group showed no motor learning transfer despite being better at EEG-BCI control than the embodied group. The fact that more participants were able to learn EEG-BCI control using abstract imagery suggests that abstract imagery may be more suitable for EEG-BCIs for some disabilities, while embodied imagery may be more suitable for others. In Part 2, EEG data collected in the above experiment was used to train an artificial neural network (ANN) to map EEG signals to machine commands. We found that our open-source ANN using spectrograms generated from SFFTs is fundamentally different and in some ways superior to Emotiv's proprietary method. Our use of novel combinations of existing technologies along with abstract and embodied imagery facilitates adaptive customization of EEG-BCI control to meet needs of individual users.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Evaluating the Effects of Ankle-Foot-Orthoses, Functional Electrical Stimulators, and Trip-specific Training on Fall Outcomes in Individuals with Stroke

Description

This dissertation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and drawbacks of promising fall prevention strategies in individuals with stroke by rigorously analyzing the biomechanics of laboratory falls and compensatory movements required to prevent a fall. Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) and functional electrical stimulators

This dissertation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and drawbacks of promising fall prevention strategies in individuals with stroke by rigorously analyzing the biomechanics of laboratory falls and compensatory movements required to prevent a fall. Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) and functional electrical stimulators (FESs) are commonly prescribed to treat foot drop. Despite well-established positive impacts of AFOs and FES devices on balance and gait, AFO and FES users fall at a high rate. In chapter 2 (as a preliminary study), solely mechanical impacts of a semi-rigid AFO on the compensatory stepping response of young healthy individuals following trip-like treadmill perturbations were evaluated. It was found that a semi-rigid AFO on the stepping leg diminished the propulsive impulse of the compensatory step which led to decreased trunk movement control, shorter step length, and reduced center of mass (COM) stability. These results highlight the critical role of plantarflexors in generating an effective compensatory stepping response. In chapter 3, the underlying biomechanical mechanisms leading to high fall risk in long-term AFO and FES users with chronic stroke were studied. It was found that AFO and FES users fall more than Non-users because they have a more impaired lower limb that is not fully addressed by AFO/FES, therefore leading to a more impaired compensatory stepping response characterized by increased inability to generate a compensatory step with paretic leg and decreased trunk movement control. An ideal future AFO that provides dorsiflexion assistance during the swing phase and plantarflexion assistance during the push-off phase of gait is suggested to enhance the compensatory stepping response and reduce more falls. In chapter 4, the effects of a single-session trip-specific training on the compensatory stepping response of individuals with stroke were evaluated. Trunk movement control was improved after a single session of training suggesting that this type of training is a viable option to enhance compensatory stepping response and reduce falls in individuals with stroke. Finally, a future powered AFO with plantarflexion assistance complemented by a trip-specific training program is suggested to enhance the compensatory stepping response and decrease falls in individuals with stroke.

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Created

Date Created
2019

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Design, Development, and Evaluation of a Soft-Inflatable exosuit for Lower Limb Assistance

Description

Traditionally, wearable exoskeletons for gait assistance have addressed the issue of high power requirement of providing support during walking. However, exoskeletons often are bulky, and suffer from misalignment of joints between the robot and the user. Soft robots in recent

Traditionally, wearable exoskeletons for gait assistance have addressed the issue of high power requirement of providing support during walking. However, exoskeletons often are bulky, and suffer from misalignment of joints between the robot and the user. Soft robots in recent work have shown the ability to provide a high degree of compliance with a light weight and lower cost. This work presents the design, control, and evaluation of a soft inflatable exosuit to assist knee extension. First, the design of novel soft inflatable actuators of I cross-section and their application in the soft inflatable exosuit is presented. The actuators are applied to a soft and lightweight garment interface to assist in knee extension during the swing phase demonstrating reduced muscle activity for the quadriceps. Second, the control of the soft exosuit is presented with the introduction of a knee angle measurement system and smart shoe insole sensors. A new control method using human joint stiffness models as well as actuator models is developed. The new control method is evaluated with three users and a reduction in the sEMG activity of the quadriceps is observed with an increase in the activity of the hamstrings. Third, an improved version of the exosuit and a controller to assist knee extension in swing phase and initial stance are presented. The exosuit is applied to seven healthy and three impaired participants. Kinematics, muscle activity and gait compensations are studied. Reduced muscle activity for the quadriceps is seen in healthy participants with reduced execution times for functional activities such as timed up-and-go as well as sit-to-stand transitions in impaired participants. Finally, an untethered version of the soft exosuit using inflatable actuator composites and a portable pneumatic source are presented. Finite element models for the composites and inflatable actuators are generated and the actuators are characterized for performance. The design of a portable source for the exosuit is also presented. The inflatable actuator composites and the portable source are implemented in a portable exosuit system which demonstrated a reduction in the Vastus Lateralis activity during incline walking for three participants. Overall, this work investigated the feasibility of several versions of the soft exosuit for gait assistance.

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Date Created
2020

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Development of an In-Ear Wearable Physiological Sensor

Description

While pulse oximeter technology is not necessarily an area of new technology, advancements in performance and package of pulse sensors have been opening up the opportunities to use these sensors in locations other than the traditional finger monitoring location.

While pulse oximeter technology is not necessarily an area of new technology, advancements in performance and package of pulse sensors have been opening up the opportunities to use these sensors in locations other than the traditional finger monitoring location. This research report examines the full potential of creating a minimally invasive physiological and environmental observance method from the ear location. With the use of a pulse oximeter and accelerometer located within the ear, there is the opportunity to provide a more in-depth means to monitor a pilot for a Gravity-Induced Loss of Consciousness (GLOC) scenario while not adding any new restriction to the pilot's movement while in flight. Additionally, building from the GLOC scenario system, other safety monitoring systems for military and first responders are explored by alternating the physiological and environmental sensors. This work presents the design and development of hardware, signal processing algorithms, prototype development, and testing results of an in-ear wearable physiological sensor.

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Created

Date Created
2021