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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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Techniques to Assess Balance and Mobility in Lower-Limb Prosthesis Users

Description

Lower-limb prosthesis users have commonly-recognized deficits in gait and posture control. However, existing methods in balance and mobility analysis fail to provide sufficient sensitivity to detect changes in prosthesis users' postural control and mobility in response to clinical intervention or

Lower-limb prosthesis users have commonly-recognized deficits in gait and posture control. However, existing methods in balance and mobility analysis fail to provide sufficient sensitivity to detect changes in prosthesis users' postural control and mobility in response to clinical intervention or experimental manipulations and often fail to detect differences between prosthesis users and non-amputee control subjects. This lack of sensitivity limits the ability of clinicians to make informed clinical decisions and presents challenges with insurance reimbursement for comprehensive clinical care and advanced prosthetic devices. These issues have directly impacted clinical care by restricting device options, increasing financial burden on clinics, and limiting support for research and development. This work aims to establish experimental methods and outcome measures that are more sensitive than traditional methods to balance and mobility changes in prosthesis users. Methods and analysis techniques were developed to probe aspects of balance and mobility control that may be specifically impacted by use of a prosthesis and present challenges similar to those experienced in daily life that could improve the detection of balance and mobility changes. Using the framework of cognitive resource allocation and dual-tasking, this work identified unique characteristics of prosthesis users’ postural control and developed sensitive measures of gait variability. The results also provide broader insight into dual-task analysis and the motor-cognitive response to demanding conditions. Specifically, this work identified altered motor behavior in prosthesis users and high cognitive demand of using a prosthesis. The residual standard deviation method was developed and demonstrated to be more effective than traditional gait variability measures at detecting the impact of dual-tasking. Additionally, spectral analysis of the center of pressure while standing identified altered somatosensory control in prosthesis users. These findings provide a new understanding of prosthetic use and new, highly sensitive techniques to assess balance and mobility in prosthesis users.

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Date Created
2017

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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

Efficiency Based Flight Analysis for a Novel Quadcopter System

Description

For a conventional quadcopter system with 4 planar rotors, flight times vary between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the weight of the quadcopter and the size of the battery used. In order to increase the flight time, either the

For a conventional quadcopter system with 4 planar rotors, flight times vary between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the weight of the quadcopter and the size of the battery used. In order to increase the flight time, either the weight of the quadcopter should be reduced or the battery size should be increased. Another way is to increase the efficiency of the propellers. Previous research shows that ducting a propeller can cause an increase of up to 94 % in the thrust produced by the rotor-duct system. This research focused on developing and testing a quadcopter having a centrally ducted rotor which produces 60 % of the total system thrust and 3 other peripheral rotors. This quadcopter will provide longer flight times while having the same maneuvering flexibility in planar movements.

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Date Created
2019