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DEVELOPMENT OF A SOFT ROBOTIC THIRD ARM

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For my thesis I worked in ASU’s Bio-Inspired Mechatronics lab on a project lead by PhD student Pham H. Nguyen (Berm) to develop an assistive soft robotic supernumerary limb. I contributed to the design and evaluation of two prototypes: the

For my thesis I worked in ASU’s Bio-Inspired Mechatronics lab on a project lead by PhD student Pham H. Nguyen (Berm) to develop an assistive soft robotic supernumerary limb. I contributed to the design and evaluation of two prototypes: the silicon based Soft Poly Limb (SPL) and one bladder-based fabric arm, the fabric Soft Poly Limb (fSPL). For both arms I was responsible for the design of 3D printed components (molds, end caps, etc.) as well as the evaluation of the completed prototypes by comparing the actual performance of the arms to the finite element predictions. I contributed to the writing of two published papers describing the design and evaluation of the two arms. After the completion of the fSPL I attempted to create a quasi-static model of the actuators driving the fSPL.

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2019-05

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Design and Fabrication of Pneumatic Actuators for a Soft Ankle Foot Orthosis

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This paper presents the design of a pneumatic actuator for a soft ankle-foot orthosis, called the Multi-material Actuator for Variable Stiffness (MAVS). This pneumatic actuator consists of an inflatable soft fabric actuator fixed between two layers of rigid retainer pieces.

This paper presents the design of a pneumatic actuator for a soft ankle-foot orthosis, called the Multi-material Actuator for Variable Stiffness (MAVS). This pneumatic actuator consists of an inflatable soft fabric actuator fixed between two layers of rigid retainer pieces. The MAVS is designed to be integrated with a soft robotic ankle-foot orthosis (SR-AFO) exosuit to aid in supporting the human ankle in the inversion/eversion directions. This design aims to assist individuals affected with chronic ankle instability (CAI) or other impairments to the ankle joint. The MAVS design is made from compliant fabric materials, layered and constrained by thin rigid retainers to prevent volume increase during actuation. The design was optimized to provide the greatest stiffness and least deflection for a beam positioned as a cantilever with a point load. The design of the MAVS took into account passive stiffness of the actuator when combining rigid and compliant materials so that stiffness is maximized when inflated and minimal when passive. An analytic model of the MAVS was created to evaluate the effects in stiffness observed by varying the ratio in length between the rigid pieces and the soft actuator. The results from the analytic model were compared to experimentally obtained results of the MAVS. The MAVS with the greatest stiffness was observed when the gap between the rigid retainers was smallest and the rigid retainer length was smallest. The MAVS design with the highest stiffness at 100 kPa was determined, which required 26.71 ± 0.06 N to deflect the actuator 20 mm, and a resulting stiffness of 1,335.5 N/m and 9.1% margin of error from the model predictions.

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2020-05

Adaptive Technologies using Soft Robotic Bladders

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The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in

The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in fields such as manufacturing, automation, and biomedical application, the robotic structures formed by rigid axels on mechanical actuators lack the delicate differential sensors and actuators associated with known biological systems. The rigid structures of traditional robotics also inhibit the use of simple mechanisms in congested and/or fragile environments. By observing a variety of biological systems, it is shown that nature models its structures over millions of years of evolution into a combination of soft structures and rigid skeletal interior supports. Through technological bio-inspired designs, researchers hope to mimic some of the complex behaviors of biological mechanisms using pneumatic actuators coupled with highly compliant materials that exhibit relatively large reversible elastic strain. This paper begins the brief history of soft robotics, the various classifications of pneumatic fluid systems, the associated difficulties that arise with the unpredictable nature of fluid reactions, the methods of pneumatic actuators in use today, the current industrial applications of soft robotics, and focuses in large on the construction of a universally adaptable soft robotic gripper and material application tool. The central objective of this experiment is to compatibly pair traditional rigid robotics with the emerging technologies of sort robotic actuators. This will be done by combining a traditional rigid robotic arm with a soft robotic manipulator bladder for the purposes of object manipulation and excavation of extreme environments.

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2016-05

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Improving damage detection and localization in complex composites

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The goal of this research is to couple a physics-based model with adaptive algorithms to develop a more accurate and robust technique for structural health monitoring (SHM) in composite structures. The purpose of SHM is to localize and detect damage

The goal of this research is to couple a physics-based model with adaptive algorithms to develop a more accurate and robust technique for structural health monitoring (SHM) in composite structures. The purpose of SHM is to localize and detect damage in structures, which has broad applications to improvements in aerospace technology. This technique employs PZT transducers to actuate and collect guided Lamb wave signals. Matching pursuit decomposition (MPD) is used to decompose the signal into a cross-term free time-frequency relation. This decoupling of time and frequency facilitates the calculation of a signal's time-of-flight along a path between an actuator and sensor. Using the time-of-flights, comparisons can be made between similar composite structures to find damaged regions by examining differences in the time of flight for each path between PZTs, with respect to direction. Relatively large differences in time-of-flight indicate the presence of new or more significant damage, which can be verified using a physics-based approach. Wave propagation modeling is used to implement a physics based approach to this method, which is coupled with adaptive algorithms that take into account currently existing damage to a composite structure. Previous SHM techniques for composite structures rely on the assumption that the composite is initially free of all damage on both a macro and micro-scale, which is never the case due to the inherent introduction of material defects in its fabrication. This method provides a novel technique for investigating the presence and nature of damage in composite structures. Further investigation into the technique can be done by testing structures with different sizes of damage and investigating the effects of different operating temperatures on this SHM system.

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2015-05

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Active and passive precision grip responses to unexpected perturbations

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The development of advanced, anthropomorphic artificial hands aims to provide upper extremity amputees with improved functionality for activities of daily living. However, many state-of-the-art hands have a large number of degrees of freedom that can be challenging to control in

The development of advanced, anthropomorphic artificial hands aims to provide upper extremity amputees with improved functionality for activities of daily living. However, many state-of-the-art hands have a large number of degrees of freedom that can be challenging to control in an intuitive manner. Automated grip responses could be built into artificial hands in order to enhance grasp stability and reduce the cognitive burden on the user. To this end, three studies were conducted to understand how human hands respond, passively and actively, to unexpected perturbations of a grasped object along and about different axes relative to the hand. The first study investigated the effect of magnitude, direction, and axis of rotation on precision grip responses to unexpected rotational perturbations of a grasped object. A robust "catch-up response" (a rapid, pulse-like increase in grip force rate previously reported only for translational perturbations) was observed whose strength scaled with the axis of rotation. Using two haptic robots, we then investigated the effects of grip surface friction, axis, and direction of perturbation on precision grip responses for unexpected translational and rotational perturbations for three different hand-centric axes. A robust catch-up response was observed for all axes and directions for both translational and rotational perturbations. Grip surface friction had no effect on the stereotypical catch-up response. Finally, we characterized the passive properties of the precision grip-object system via robot-imposed impulse perturbations. The hand-centric axis associated with the greatest translational stiffness was different than that for rotational stiffness. This work expands our understanding of the passive and active features of precision grip, a hallmark of human dexterous manipulation. Biological insights such as these could be used to enhance the functionality of artificial hands and the quality of life for upper extremity amputees.

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2013

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Adaptive methods within a sequential Bayesian approach for structural health monitoring

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Structural integrity is an important characteristic of performance for critical components used in applications such as aeronautics, materials, construction and transportation. When appraising the structural integrity of these components, evaluation methods must be accurate. In addition to possessing capability to

Structural integrity is an important characteristic of performance for critical components used in applications such as aeronautics, materials, construction and transportation. When appraising the structural integrity of these components, evaluation methods must be accurate. In addition to possessing capability to perform damage detection, the ability to monitor the level of damage over time can provide extremely useful information in assessing the operational worthiness of a structure and in determining whether the structure should be repaired or removed from service. In this work, a sequential Bayesian approach with active sensing is employed for monitoring crack growth within fatigue-loaded materials. The monitoring approach is based on predicting crack damage state dynamics and modeling crack length observations. Since fatigue loading of a structural component can change while in service, an interacting multiple model technique is employed to estimate probabilities of different loading modes and incorporate this information in the crack length estimation problem. For the observation model, features are obtained from regions of high signal energy in the time-frequency plane and modeled for each crack length damage condition. Although this observation model approach exhibits high classification accuracy, the resolution characteristics can change depending upon the extent of the damage. Therefore, several different transmission waveforms and receiver sensors are considered to create multiple modes for making observations of crack damage. Resolution characteristics of the different observation modes are assessed using a predicted mean squared error criterion and observations are obtained using the predicted, optimal observation modes based on these characteristics. Calculation of the predicted mean square error metric can be computationally intensive, especially if performed in real time, and an approximation method is proposed. With this approach, the real time computational burden is decreased significantly and the number of possible observation modes can be increased. Using sensor measurements from real experiments, the overall sequential Bayesian estimation approach, with the adaptive capability of varying the state dynamics and observation modes, is demonstrated for tracking crack damage.

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2013

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The Design, Fabrication, and Testing of a New Design of Soft Robotic Module Using Knit FRTAs

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For the basis of this project, a particular interest is taken in soft robotic arms for the assistance of daily living tasks. A detailed overview and function of the soft robotic modules comprised within the soft robotic arm will be

For the basis of this project, a particular interest is taken in soft robotic arms for the assistance of daily living tasks. A detailed overview and function of the soft robotic modules comprised within the soft robotic arm will be the main focus. In this thesis, design and fabrication methods of fabric reinforced textile actuators (FRTAs) have their design expanded. Original design changes to the actuators that improve their performance are detailed in this report. This report also includes an explanation of how the FRTA’s are made, explaining step by step how to make each sub-assembly and explain its function. Comparisons between the presented module and the function of the soft poly limb from previous works are also expanded. Various forms of testing, such as force testing, range of motion testing, and stiffness testing are conducted on the soft robotic module to provide insights into its performance and characteristics. Lastly, present plans for various forms of future work and integration of the soft robotic module into a full soft robotic arm assembly are discussed.

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2020-05

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Development of mehanochemically active polymers for early damage detection

Description

Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in

Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in which mechanical energy is translated to activate a chemical transformation, have received increasing attention. More specifically, the damage can be made detectable by mechanochromic polymers, which provide a visible color change upon the scission of covalent bonds under stress. This dissertation focuses on the study of a novel self-sensing framework for identifying early and in-situ damage by employing unique stress-sensing mechanophores. Two types of mechanophores, cyclobutane and cyclooctane, were utilized, and the former formed from cinnamoyl moeities and the latter formed from anthracene upon photodimerization. The effects on the thermal and mechanical properties with the addition of the cyclobutane-based polymers into epoxy matrices were investigated. The emergence of cracks was detected by fluorescent signals at a strain level right after the yield point of the polymer blends, and the fluorescence intensified with the accumulation of strain. Similar to the mechanism of fluorescence emission from the cleavage of cyclobutane, the cyclooctane moiety generated fluorescent emission with a higher quantum yield upon cleavage. The experimental results also demonstrated the success of employing the cyclooctane type mechanophore as a potential force sensor, as the fluorescence intensification was correlated with the strain increase.

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2014

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Probabilistic fatigue damage localization at unknown temperatures using guided wave methods

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This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a

This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a structural component interrogated at an unknown temperature, by developing a probabilistic and reference-free framework for estimating Lamb wave velocities and the damage location. The methodology for damage localization at unknown temperatures includes the following key elements: i) a model that can describe the change in Lamb wave velocities with temperature; ii) the extension of an advanced time-frequency based signal processing technique for enhanced time-of-flight feature extraction from a dispersive signal; iii) the development of a Bayesian damage localization framework incorporating data association and sensor fusion. The technique requires no additional transducers to be installed on a structure, and allows for the estimation of both the temperature and the wave velocity in the component. Additionally, the framework of the algorithm allows it to function completely in an unsupervised manner by probabilistically accounting for all measurement origin uncertainty. The novel algorithm was experimentally validated using an aluminum lug joint with a growing fatigue crack. The lug joint was interrogated using piezoelectric transducers at multiple fatigue crack lengths, and at temperatures between 20°C and 80°C. The results showed that the algorithm could accurately predict the temperature and wave speed of the lug joint. The localization results for the fatigue damage were found to correlate well with the true locations at long crack lengths, but loss of accuracy was observed in localizing small cracks due to time-of-flight measurement errors. To validate the algorithm across a wider range of temperatures the electromechanically coupled LISA/SIM model was used to simulate the effects of temperatures. The numerical results showed that this approach would be capable of experimentally estimating the temperature and velocity in the lug joint for temperatures from -60°C to 150°C. The velocity estimation algorithm was found to significantly increase the accuracy of localization at temperatures above 120°C when error due to incorrect velocity selection begins to outweigh the error due to time-of-flight measurements.

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2013

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Multiscale Modeling & Virtual Sensing for Structural Health Monitoring

Description

Damage assessment and residual useful life estimation (RULE) are essential for aerospace, civil and naval structures. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) attempts to automate the process of damage detection and identification. Multiscale modeling is a key element in SHM. It not

Damage assessment and residual useful life estimation (RULE) are essential for aerospace, civil and naval structures. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) attempts to automate the process of damage detection and identification. Multiscale modeling is a key element in SHM. It not only provides important information on the physics of failure, such as damage initiation and growth, the output can be used as "virtual sensing" data for detection and prognosis. The current research is part of an ongoing multidisciplinary effort to develop an integrated SHM framework for metallic aerospace components. In this thesis a multiscale model has been developed by bridging the relevant length scales, micro, meso and macro (or structural scale). Micro structural representations obtained from material characterization studies are used to define the length scales and to capture the size and orientation of the grains at the micro level. Parametric studies are conducted to estimate material parameters used in this constitutive model. Numerical and experimental simulations are performed to investigate the effects of Representative Volume Element (RVE) size, defect area fraction and distribution. A multiscale damage criterion accounting for crystal orientation effect is developed. This criterion is applied for fatigue crack initial stage prediction. A damage evolution rule based on strain energy density is modified to incorporate crystal plasticity at the microscale (local). Optimization approaches are used to calculate global damage index which is used for the RVE failure prediciton. Potential cracking directions are provided from the damage criterion simultaneously. A wave propagation model is incorporated with the damage model to detect changes in sensing signals due to plastic deformation and damage growth.

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2011