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ROBOTIC SHOE: AN ANKLE ASSISTIVE DEVICE FOR GAIT PLANTAR FLEXION ASSISTANCE

Description

The mean age of the world’s population is rapidly increasing and with that growth in an aging population a large number of elderly people are in need of walking assistance. In addition, a number of medical conditions contribute to gait

The mean age of the world’s population is rapidly increasing and with that growth in an aging population a large number of elderly people are in need of walking assistance. In addition, a number of medical conditions contribute to gait disorders that require gait rehabilitation. Wearable robotics can be used to improve functional outcomes in the gait rehabilitation process. The ankle push-off phase of an individual’s gait is vital to their ability to walk and propel themselves forward. During the ankle push-off phase of walking, plantar flexors are required to providing a large amount of force to power the heel off the ground.

The purpose of this project is to improve upon the passive ankle foot orthosis originally designed in the ASU’s Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (RISE Lab). This device utilizes springs positioned parallel to the user’s Achilles tendon which store energy to be released during the push off phase of the user’s gait cycle. Goals of the project are to improve the speed and reliability of the ratchet and pawl mechanism, design the device to fit a wider range of shoe sizes, and reduce the overall mass and size of the device. The resulting system is semi-passive and only utilizes a single solenoid to unlock the ratcheting mechanism when the spring’s potential force is required. The device created also utilizes constant force springs rather than traditional linear springs which allows for a more predictable level of force. A healthy user tested the device on a treadmill and surface electromyography (sEMG) sensors were placed on the user’s plantar flexor muscles to monitor potential reductions in muscular activity resulting from the assistance provided by the AFO device. The data demonstrates the robotic shoe was able to assist during the heel-off stage and reduced activation in the plantar flexor muscles was evident from the EMG data collected. As this is an ongoing research project, this thesis will also recommend possible design upgrades and changes to be made to the device in the future. These upgrades include utilizing a carbon fiber or lightweight plastic frame such as many of the traditional ankle foot-orthosis sold today and introducing a system to regulate the amount of spring force applied as a function of the force required at specific times of the heel off gait phase.

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Date Created
2019-12

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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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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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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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Design and Development of Exoskeletons for Squatting, Gait Assistance, and Fall Prevention Applications

Description

This research seeks to present the design and testing of exoskeletons capable of assisting with walking gait, squatting, and fall prevention activities. The dissertation introduces wearable
robotics and exoskeletons and then progresses into specific applications and developments in the
targeted

This research seeks to present the design and testing of exoskeletons capable of assisting with walking gait, squatting, and fall prevention activities. The dissertation introduces wearable
robotics and exoskeletons and then progresses into specific applications and developments in the
targeted field. Following the introduction, chapters present and discuss different wearable
exoskeletons built to address known issues with workers and individuals with increased risk of fall.
The presentation is concluded by an overall analysis of the resulting developments and identifying
future work in the field.

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Date Created
2021