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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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Date Created
2013

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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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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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Date Created
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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Date Created
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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Date Created
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

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Magnetic Needle Steering for Medical Applications

Description

Many medical procedures, like surgeries, deal with the physical manipulation of sensitive internal tissues. Over time, new medical tools and techniques have been developed to improve the safety and efficacy of these procedures. Despite the leaps and bounds of progress

Many medical procedures, like surgeries, deal with the physical manipulation of sensitive internal tissues. Over time, new medical tools and techniques have been developed to improve the safety and efficacy of these procedures. Despite the leaps and bounds of progress made up to the present day, three major obstacles (among others) persist, bleeding, pain, and the risk of infection. Advances in minimally invasive treatments have transformed many formerly risky surgical procedures into very safe and highly successful routines. Minimally invasive surgeries are characterized by small incision profiles compared to the large incisions in open surgeries, minimizing the aforementioned issues. Minimally invasive procedures lead to several benefits, such as shorter recovery time, fewer complications, and less postoperative pain. In minimally invasive surgery, doctors use various techniques to operate with less damage to the body than open surgery. Today, these procedures have an established, successful history and promising future. Steerable needles are one of the tools proposed for minimally invasive operations. Needle steering is a method for guiding a long, flexible needle through curved paths to reach targets deep in the body, eliminating the need for large incisions. In this dissertation, we present a new needle steering technology: magnetic needle steering. This technology is proposed to address the limitations of conventional needle steering that hindered its clinical applications. Magnetic needle steering eliminates excessive tissue damage, restrictions of the minimum radius of curvature, and the need for a complex nonlinear model, to name a few. It also allows fabricating the needle shaft out of soft and tissue-compliant materials.
This is achieved by first developing an electromagnetic coil system capable of producing desired magnetic fields and gradients; then, a magnetically actuated needle is designed, and its effectiveness is experimentally evaluated. Afterward, the scalability of this technique was tested using permanent magnets controlled with a robotic arm.
Furthermore, different configurations of permanent magnets and their influence on the magnetic field are investigated, enabling the possibility of designing a desired magnetic field for a specific surgical procedure and operation on a particular organ. Finally, potential future directions towards animal studies and clinical trials are discussed.

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Date Created
2021

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Model Driven Design Optimization and Gait Selection of Compliant Foldable Robots

Description

This dissertation studies the methods to enhance the performance of foldable robots manufactured by laminated techniques. This class of robots are unique in their manufacturing process, which involves cutting and staking up thin layers of different materials with various

This dissertation studies the methods to enhance the performance of foldable robots manufactured by laminated techniques. This class of robots are unique in their manufacturing process, which involves cutting and staking up thin layers of different materials with various stiffness. While inheriting the advantages of soft robots -- low weight, affordable manufacturing cost and a fast prototyping process -- a wider range of actuators is available to these mechanisms, while modeling their behavior requires less computational cost.The fundamental question this dissertation strives to answer is how to decode and leverage the effect of material stiffness in these robots. These robots' stiffness is relatively limited due to their slender design, specifically at larger scales. While compliant robots may have inherent advantages such as being safer to work around, this low rigidity makes modeling more complex. This complexity is mostly contained in material deformation since the conventional actuators such as servo motors can be easily leveraged in these robots. As a result, when introduced to real-world environments, efficient modeling and control of these robots are more achievable than conventional soft robots.
Various approaches have been taken to design, model, and control a variety of laminate robot platforms by investigating the effect of material deformation in prototypes while they interact with their working environments. The results obtained show that data-driven approaches such as experimental identification and machine learning techniques are more reliable in modeling and control of these mechanisms. Also, machine learning techniques for training robots in non-ideal experimental setups that encounter the uncertainties of real-world environments can be leveraged to find effective gaits with high performance. Our studies on the effect of stiffness of thin, curved sheets of materials has evolved into introducing a new class of soft elements which we call Soft, Curved, Reconfigurable, Anisotropic Mechanisms (SCRAMs). Like bio-mechanical systems, SCRAMs are capable of re-configuring the stiffness of curved surfaces to enhance their performance and adaptability. Finally, the findings of this thesis show promising opportunities for foldable robots to become an alternative for conventional soft robots since they still offer similar advantages in a fraction of computational expense.

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Date Created
2021

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Generalized T-Map Modelling Procedure & Tolerance Sensitivity Analysis Using T-Maps

Description

Geometrical tolerances define allowable manufacturing variations in the features of mechanical parts. For a given feature (planar face, cylindrical hole) the variations may be modeled with a T-Map, a hyper solid in 6D small displacement coordinate space. A general method

Geometrical tolerances define allowable manufacturing variations in the features of mechanical parts. For a given feature (planar face, cylindrical hole) the variations may be modeled with a T-Map, a hyper solid in 6D small displacement coordinate space. A general method for constructing T-Maps is to decompose a feature into points, identify the variational limits to these points allowed by the feature tolerance zone, represent these limits using linear halfspaces, transform these to the central local reference frame and intersect these to form the T-Map for the entire feature. The method is explained and validated for existing T-Map models. The method is further used to model manufacturing variations for the positions of axes in patterns of cylindrical features.

When parts are assembled together, feature level manufacturing variations accumulate (stack up) to cause variations in one or more critical dimensions, e.g. one or more clearances. When the T-Maps model is applied to complex assemblies it is possible to obtain as many as six dimensional stack up relation, instead of the one or two typical of 1D or 2D charts. The sensitivity of the critical assembly dimension to the manufacturing variations at each feature can be evaluated by fitting a functional T-Map over a kinematically transformed T-Map of the feature. By considering individual features and the tolerance specifications, one by one, the sensitivity of each tolerance on variations of a critical assembly level dimension can be evaluated. The sum of products of tolerance values and respective sensitivities gives value of worst case functional variation. The same sensitivity equation can be used for statistical tolerance analysis by fitting a Gaussian normal distribution function to each tolerance range and forming an equation of variances from all the contributors. The method for evaluating sensitivities and variances for each contributing feature is explained with engineering examples.

The overall objective of this research is to develop method for automation friendly and efficient T-Map generation and statistical tolerance analysis.

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Date Created
2018