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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

Description

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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Active and passive precision grip responses to unexpected perturbations

Description

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

Description

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

Soft Actuators for Miniature and Untethered Soft Robots Using Stimuli-Responsive Hydrogels

Description

Soft robots currently rely on additional hardware such as pumps, high voltage supplies,light generation sources, and magnetic field generators for their operation. These components
resist miniaturization; thus, embedding them into small-scale soft robots is challenging.
This issue limits their applications,

Soft robots currently rely on additional hardware such as pumps, high voltage supplies,light generation sources, and magnetic field generators for their operation. These components
resist miniaturization; thus, embedding them into small-scale soft robots is challenging.
This issue limits their applications, especially in hyper-redundant mobile robots. This
dissertation aims at addressing some of the challenges associated with creating miniature,
untethered soft robots that can function without any attachment to external power supplies
or receiving any control signals from outside sources. This goal is accomplished by introducing
a soft active material and a manufacturing method that together, facilitate the
miniaturization of soft robots and effectively supports their autonomous, mobile operation
without any connection to outside equipment or human intervention.
The soft active material presented here is a hydrogel based on a polymer called poly(Nisopropylacrylamide)
(PNIPAAm). This hydrogel responds to changes in the temperature
and responds by expanding or contracting. A major challenge regarding PNIPAAm-based
hydrogels is their slow response. This challenge is addressed by introducing a mixedsolvent
photo-polymerization technique that alters the pore structure of the hydrogel and
facilitates the water transport and thus the rate of volume change. Using this technique,
the re-swelling response time of hydrogels is reduced to 2:4min – over 25 times faster
than hydrogels demonstrated previously. The material properties of hydrogels including
their response rate and Young’s modulus are tuned simultaneously. The one-step photopolymerization
using UV light is performed in under 15 sec, which is a significant improvement
over thermo-polymerization, which takes anywhere between a few minutes to
several hours. Photopolymerization is key towards simplifying recipes, improving access
to these techniques, and making them tractable for iterative design processes.
To address the manufacturing challenges, soft voxel actuators (SVAs) are presented.
SVAs are actuated by electrical currents through Joule heating. SVAs weighing only 100 mg require small footprint microcontrollers for their operation which can be embedded
in the robotic system. The advantages of hydrogel-based SVAs are demonstrated through
different robotic platforms namely a hyper-redundant manipulator with 16 SVAs, an untethered
miniature robot for mobile underwater applications using 8 SVAs, and a gripper
using 32 SVAs.

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Date Created
2021

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Analysis of Time Varying Systems And Its Applications

Description

The inherent behavior of many real world applications tends to exhibit complex or chaotic patterns. A novel technique to reduce and analyze such complex systems is introduced in this work, and its applications to multiple perturbed systems are discussed

The inherent behavior of many real world applications tends to exhibit complex or chaotic patterns. A novel technique to reduce and analyze such complex systems is introduced in this work, and its applications to multiple perturbed systems are discussed comprehensively. In this work, a unified approach between the Floquet theory for time periodic systems and the Poincare theory of Normal Forms is proposed to analyze time varying systems. The proposed unified approach is initially verified for linear time periodic systems with the aid of an intuitive state augmentation and the method of Time Independent Normal Forms (TINF). This approach also resulted in the closed form expressions for the State Transition Matrix (STM) and Lyapunov-Floquet (L-F) transformation for linear time periodic systems. The application of theory towards stability analysis is further demonstrated with the system of Suction Stabilized Floating (SSF) platform. Additionally, multiple control strategies are discussed and implemented to drive an unstable time periodic system to a desired stable point or orbit efficiently and optimally. The computed L-F transformation is further utilized to analyze nonlinear and externally excited systems with deterministic and stochastic time periodic coefficients. The central theme of this work is to verify the extension of Floquet theory towards time varying systems with periodic coefficients comprising of incommensurate frequencies or quasi-periodic systems. As per Floquet theory, a Lyapunov-Perron (L-P) transformation converts a time-varying quasi-periodic system to a time-invariant form. A class of commutative quasi-periodic systems is introduced to demonstrate the proposed theory and its applications analytically. An extension of the proposed unified approach towards analyzing the linear quasi-periodic system is observed to provide good results, computationally less complex and widely applicable for strongly excited systems. The computed L-P transformation using the unified theory is applied to analyze both commutative and non-commutative linear quasi-periodic systems with nonlinear terms and external excitation terms. For highly nonlinear quasi-periodic systems, the implementation of multiple order reduction techniques and their performance comparisons are illustrated in this work. Finally, the robustness and stability analysis of nonlinearly perturbed and stochastically excited quasi-periodic systems are performed using Lyapunov's direct method and Infante's approach.

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2021

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Design and Development of Flexible Sensors Using Non-Conventional Methods

Description

In this work, different methods for fabrication of flexible sensors and sensor characterization are studied. Using materials and equipment that is unconventional, it is shown that different processes can be used to create sensors that behave like commercially available sensors.

In this work, different methods for fabrication of flexible sensors and sensor characterization are studied. Using materials and equipment that is unconventional, it is shown that different processes can be used to create sensors that behave like commercially available sensors. The reason unconventional methods are used is to cut down on cost to produce the sensors as well as enabling the manufacture of custom sensors in different sizes and different configurations. Currently commercially available sensors are expensive and are usually designed for very specific applications. By creating these same types of sensors using new methods and materials, these new sensors will show that flexible sensor creation for many uses at a fraction of the cost is achievable.

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2018

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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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2019

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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