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Development of a Wearable Haptic Feedback System for Use in Lower-Limb Prosthetics: Proof of Concept and Verification

Description

Skin and muscle receptors in the leg and foot provide able-bodied humans with force and position information that is crucial for balance and movement control. In lower-limb amputees however, this vital information is either missing or incomplete. Amputees typically compensate

Skin and muscle receptors in the leg and foot provide able-bodied humans with force and position information that is crucial for balance and movement control. In lower-limb amputees however, this vital information is either missing or incomplete. Amputees typically compensate for the loss of sensory information by relying on haptic feedback from the stump-socket interface. Unfortunately, this is not an adequate substitute. Areas of the stump that directly interface with the socket are also prone to painful irritation, which further degrades haptic feedback. The lack of somatosensory feedback from prosthetic legs causes several problems for lower-limb amputees. Previous studies have established that the lack of adequate sensory feedback from prosthetic limbs contributes to poor balance and abnormal gait kinematics. These improper gait kinematics can, in turn, lead to the development of musculoskeletal diseases. Finally, the absence of sensory information has been shown to lead to steeper learning curves and increased rehabilitation times, which hampers amputees from recovering from the trauma. In this study, a novel haptic feedback system for lower-limb amputees was develped, and studies were performed to verify that information presented was sufficiently accurate and precise in comparison to a Bertec 4060-NC force plate. The prototype device consisted of a sensorized insole, a belt-mounted microcontroller, and a linear array of four vibrotactile motors worn on the thigh. The prototype worked by calculating the center of pressure in the anteroposterior plane, and applying a time-discrete vibrotactile stimulus based on the location of the center of pressure.

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2018-05

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Exploring the Design of Vibrotactile Cues for Visio-Haptic Sensory Substitution

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This paper presents the design and evaluation of a haptic interface for augmenting human-human interpersonal interactions by delivering facial expressions of an interaction partner to an individual who is blind using a visual-to-tactile mapping of facial action units and emotions.

This paper presents the design and evaluation of a haptic interface for augmenting human-human interpersonal interactions by delivering facial expressions of an interaction partner to an individual who is blind using a visual-to-tactile mapping of facial action units and emotions. Pancake shaftless vibration motors are mounted on the back of a chair to provide vibrotactile stimulation in the context of a dyadic (one-on-one) interaction across a table. This work explores the design of spatiotemporal vibration patterns that can be used to convey the basic building blocks of facial movements according to the Facial Action Unit Coding System. A behavioral study was conducted to explore the factors that influence the naturalness of conveying affect using vibrotactile cues.

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2014-05

Enhancing the perception of speech indexical properties of Cochlear implants through sensory substitution

Description

Through decades of clinical progress, cochlear implants have brought the world of speech and language to thousands of profoundly deaf patients. However, the technology has many possible areas for improvement, including providing information of non-linguistic cues, also called indexical properties

Through decades of clinical progress, cochlear implants have brought the world of speech and language to thousands of profoundly deaf patients. However, the technology has many possible areas for improvement, including providing information of non-linguistic cues, also called indexical properties of speech. The field of sensory substitution, providing information relating one sense to another, offers a potential avenue to further assist those with cochlear implants, in addition to the promise they hold for those without existing aids. A user study with a vibrotactile device is evaluated to exhibit the effectiveness of this approach in an auditory gender discrimination task. Additionally, preliminary computational work is included that demonstrates advantages and limitations encountered when expanding the complexity of future implementations.

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Date Created
2015

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Fused Filament Fabrication of Prosthetic Components for Trans-Humeral Upper Limb Prosthetics

Description

Presented below is the design and fabrication of prosthetic components consisting of an attachment, tactile sensing, and actuator systems with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technique. The attachment system is a thermoplastic osseointegrated upper limb prosthesis for average adult trans-humeral amputation

Presented below is the design and fabrication of prosthetic components consisting of an attachment, tactile sensing, and actuator systems with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technique. The attachment system is a thermoplastic osseointegrated upper limb prosthesis for average adult trans-humeral amputation with mechanical properties greater than upper limb skeletal bone. The prosthetic designed has: a one-step surgical process, large cavities for bone tissue ingrowth, uses a material that has an elastic modulus less than skeletal bone, and can be fabricated on one system.

FFF osseointegration screw is an improvement upon the current two-part osseointegrated prosthetics that are composed of a fixture and abutment. The current prosthetic design requires two invasive surgeries for implantation and are made of titanium, which has an elastic modulus greater than bone. An elastic modulus greater than bone causes stress shielding and overtime can cause loosening of the prosthetic.

The tactile sensor is a thermoplastic piezo-resistive sensor for daily activities for a prosthetic’s feedback system. The tactile sensor is manufactured from a low elastic modulus composite comprising of a compressible thermoplastic elastomer and conductive carbon. Carbon is in graphite form and added in high filler ratios. The printed sensors were compared to sensors that were fabricated in a gravity mold to highlight the difference in FFF sensors to molded sensors. The 3D printed tactile sensor has a thickness and feel similar to human skin, has a simple fabrication technique, can detect forces needed for daily activities, and can be manufactured in to user specific geometries.

Lastly, a biomimicking skeletal muscle actuator for prosthetics was developed. The actuator developed is manufactured with Fuse Filament Fabrication using a shape memory polymer composite that has non-linear contractile and passive forces, contractile forces and strains comparable to mammalian skeletal muscle, reaction time under one second, low operating temperature, and has a low mass, volume, and material costs. The actuator improves upon current prosthetic actuators that provide rigid, linear force with high weight, cost, and noise.

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2017