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A Study of the Mechanical Behavior Of Nanocrystalline Metals Using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

Description

The study of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and material science. The extremely small grains that make up nanocrystalline metals lead to higher strength but lower

The study of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices lies at the intersection of nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and material science. The extremely small grains that make up nanocrystalline metals lead to higher strength but lower ductility as compared to bulk metals. Effects of strain-rate dependence on the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals are explored. Knowing the strain rate dependence of mechanical properties would enable optimization of material selection for different applications and lead to lighter structural components and enhanced sustainability.

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2014-05

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Control of 3D human arm impedance

Description

Humans have an inherent capability of performing highly dexterous and skillful tasks with their arms, involving maintaining posture, movement and interacting with the environment. The latter requires for them to control the dynamic characteristics of the upper limb musculoskeletal system.

Humans have an inherent capability of performing highly dexterous and skillful tasks with their arms, involving maintaining posture, movement and interacting with the environment. The latter requires for them to control the dynamic characteristics of the upper limb musculoskeletal system. Inertia, damping and stiffness, a measure of mechanical impedance, gives a strong representation of these characteristics. Many previous studies have shown that the arm posture is a dominant factor for determining the end point impedance in a horizontal plane (transverse plane). The objective of this thesis is to characterize end point impedance of the human arm in the three dimensional (3D) space. Moreover, it investigates and models the control of the arm impedance due to increasing levels of muscle co-contraction. The characterization is done through experimental trials where human subjects maintained arm posture, while perturbed by a robot arm. Moreover, the subjects were asked to control the level of their arm muscles' co-contraction, using visual feedback of their muscles' activation, in order to investigate the effect of the muscle co-contraction on the arm impedance. The results of this study showed a very interesting, anisotropic increase of the arm stiffness due to muscle co-contraction. This can lead to very useful conclusions about the arm biomechanics as well as many implications for human motor control and more specifically the control of arm impedance through muscle co-contraction. The study finds implications for the EMG-based control of robots that physically interact with humans.

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Date Created
2013

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Closed-form inverse kinematic solution for anthropomorphic motion in redundant robot arms

Description

As robots are increasingly migrating out of factories and research laboratories and into our everyday lives, they should move and act in environments designed for humans. For this reason, the need of anthropomorphic movements is of utmost importance. The objective

As robots are increasingly migrating out of factories and research laboratories and into our everyday lives, they should move and act in environments designed for humans. For this reason, the need of anthropomorphic movements is of utmost importance. The objective of this thesis is to solve the inverse kinematics problem of redundant robot arms that results to anthropomorphic configurations. The swivel angle of the elbow was used as a human arm motion parameter for the robot arm to mimic. The swivel angle is defined as the rotation angle of the plane defined by the upper and lower arm around a virtual axis that connects the shoulder and wrist joints. Using kinematic data recorded from human subjects during every-day life tasks, the linear sensorimotor transformation model was validated and used to estimate the swivel angle, given the desired end-effector position. Defining the desired swivel angle simplifies the kinematic redundancy of the robot arm. The proposed method was tested with an anthropomorphic redundant robot arm and the computed motion profiles were compared to the ones of the human subjects. This thesis shows that the method computes anthropomorphic configurations for the robot arm, even if the robot arm has different link lengths than the human arm and starts its motion at random configurations.

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2013

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Human-robot cooperation: communication and leader-follower dynamics

Description

As robotic systems are used in increasingly diverse applications, the interaction of humans and robots has become an important area of research. In many of the applications of physical human robot interaction (pHRI), the robot and the human can be

As robotic systems are used in increasingly diverse applications, the interaction of humans and robots has become an important area of research. In many of the applications of physical human robot interaction (pHRI), the robot and the human can be seen as cooperating to complete a task with some object of interest. Often these applications are in unstructured environments where many paths can accomplish the goal. This creates a need for the ability to communicate a preferred direction of motion between both participants in order to move in coordinated way. This communication method should be bidirectional to be able to fully utilize both the robot and human capabilities. Moreover, often in cooperative tasks between two humans, one human will operate as the leader of the task and the other as the follower. These roles may switch during the task as needed. The need for communication extends into this area of leader-follower switching. Furthermore, not only is there a need to communicate the desire to switch roles but also to control this switching process. Impedance control has been used as a way of dealing with some of the complexities of pHRI. For this investigation, it was examined if impedance control can be utilized as a way of communicating a preferred direction between humans and robots. The first set of experiments tested to see if a human could detect a preferred direction of a robot by grasping and moving an object coupled to the robot. The second set tested the reverse case if the robot could detect the preferred direction of the human. The ability to detect the preferred direction was shown to be up to 99% effective. Using these results, a control method to allow a human and robot to switch leader and follower roles during a cooperative task was implemented and tested. This method proved successful 84% of the time. This control method was refined using adaptive control resulting in lower interaction forces and a success rate of 95%.

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Date Created
2014

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Load carrying assistance device: pogo suit

Description

Wearable robots including exoskeletons, powered prosthetics, and powered orthotics must add energy to the person at an appropriate time to enhance, augment, or supplement human performance. Adding energy while not being in sync with the user can dramatically hurt performance

Wearable robots including exoskeletons, powered prosthetics, and powered orthotics must add energy to the person at an appropriate time to enhance, augment, or supplement human performance. Adding energy while not being in sync with the user can dramatically hurt performance making it necessary to have correct timing with the user. Many human tasks such as walking, running, and hopping are repeating or cyclic tasks and a robot can add energy in sync with the repeating pattern for assistance. A method has been developed to add energy at the appropriate time to the repeating limit cycle based on a phase oscillator. The phase oscillator eliminates time from the forcing function which is based purely on the motion of the user. This approach has been simulated, implemented and tested in a robotic backpack which facilitates carrying heavy loads. The device oscillates the load of the backpack, based on the motion of the user, in order to add energy at the correct time and thus reduce the amount of energy required for walking with a heavy load. Models were developed in Working Model 2-D, a dynamics simulation software, in conjunction with MATLAB to verify theory and test control methods. The control system developed is robust and has successfully operated on a range of different users, each with their own different and distinct gait. The results of experimental testing validated the corresponding models.

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Date Created
2014

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Parallel optimization of polynomials for large-scale problems in stability and control

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In this thesis, we focus on some of the NP-hard problems in control theory. Thanks to the converse Lyapunov theory, these problems can often be modeled as optimization over polynomials. To avoid the problem of intractability, we establish a trade

In this thesis, we focus on some of the NP-hard problems in control theory. Thanks to the converse Lyapunov theory, these problems can often be modeled as optimization over polynomials. To avoid the problem of intractability, we establish a trade off between accuracy and complexity. In particular, we develop a sequence of tractable optimization problems - in the form of Linear Programs (LPs) and/or Semi-Definite Programs (SDPs) - whose solutions converge to the exact solution of the NP-hard problem. However, the computational and memory complexity of these LPs and SDPs grow exponentially with the progress of the sequence - meaning that improving the accuracy of the solutions requires solving SDPs with tens of thousands of decision variables and constraints. Setting up and solving such problems is a significant challenge. The existing optimization algorithms and software are only designed to use desktop computers or small cluster computers - machines which do not have sufficient memory for solving such large SDPs. Moreover, the speed-up of these algorithms does not scale beyond dozens of processors. This in fact is the reason we seek parallel algorithms for setting-up and solving large SDPs on large cluster- and/or super-computers.

We propose parallel algorithms for stability analysis of two classes of systems: 1) Linear systems with a large number of uncertain parameters; 2) Nonlinear systems defined by polynomial vector fields. First, we develop a distributed parallel algorithm which applies Polya's and/or Handelman's theorems to some variants of parameter-dependent Lyapunov inequalities with parameters defined over the standard simplex. The result is a sequence of SDPs which possess a block-diagonal structure. We then develop a parallel SDP solver which exploits this structure in order to map the computation, memory and communication to a distributed parallel environment. Numerical tests on a supercomputer demonstrate the ability of the algorithm to efficiently utilize hundreds and potentially thousands of processors, and analyze systems with 100+ dimensional state-space. Furthermore, we extend our algorithms to analyze robust stability over more complicated geometries such as hypercubes and arbitrary convex polytopes. Our algorithms can be readily extended to address a wide variety of problems in control such as Hinfinity synthesis for systems with parametric uncertainty and computing control Lyapunov functions.

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Date Created
2016

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Validation of computational fluid dynamics based data center cyber-physical models

Description

Energy efficient design and management of data centers has seen considerable interest in the recent years owing to its potential to reduce the overall energy consumption and thereby the costs associated with it. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that

Energy efficient design and management of data centers has seen considerable interest in the recent years owing to its potential to reduce the overall energy consumption and thereby the costs associated with it. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that new methods for improved physical design of data centers, resource management schemes for efficient workload distribution and sustainable operation for improving the energy efficiency, be developed and tested before implementation on an actual data center. The BlueTool project, provides such a state-of-the-art platform, both software and hardware, to design and analyze energy efficiency of data centers. The software platform, namely GDCSim uses cyber-physical approach to study the physical behavior of the data center in response to the management decisions by taking into account the heat recirculation patterns in the data center room. Such an approach yields best possible energy savings owing to the characterization of cyber-physical interactions and the ability of the resource management to take decisions based on physical behavior of data centers. The GDCSim mainly uses two Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) based cyber-physical models namely, Heat Recirculation Matrix (HRM) and Transient Heat Distribution Model (THDM) for thermal predictions based on different management schemes. They are generated using a model generator namely BlueSim. To ensure the accuracy of the thermal predictions using the GDCSim, the models, HRM and THDM and the model generator, BlueSim need to be validated experimentally. For this purpose, the hardware platform of the BlueTool project, namely the BlueCenter, a mini data center, can be used. As a part of this thesis, the HRM and THDM were generated using the BlueSim and experimentally validated using the BlueCenter. An average error of 4.08% was observed for BlueSim, 5.84% for HRM and 4.24% for THDM. Further, a high initial error was observed for transient thermal prediction, which is due to the inability of BlueSim to account for the heat retained by server components.

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Date Created
2012

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Using the phase angle oscillator controller for hopping robots

Description

As the robotic industry becomes increasingly present in some of the more extreme environments such as the battle field, disaster sites or extraplanetary exploration, it will be necessary to provide locomotive niche strategies that are optimal to each terrain.

As the robotic industry becomes increasingly present in some of the more extreme environments such as the battle field, disaster sites or extraplanetary exploration, it will be necessary to provide locomotive niche strategies that are optimal to each terrain. The hopping gait has been well studied in robotics and proven to be a potential method to fit some of these niche areas. There have been some difficulties in producing terrain following controllers that maintain robust, steady state, which are disturbance resistant.

The following thesis will discuss a controller which has shown the ability to produce these desired properties. A phase angle oscillator controller is shown to work remarkably well, both in simulation and with a one degree of freedom robotic test stand.

Work was also done with an experimental quadruped with less successful results, but which did show potential for stability. Additional work is suggested for the quadruped.

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Date Created
2015

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EMG-based robot control interfaces: beyond decoding

Description

Electromyogram (EMG)-based control interfaces are increasingly used in robot teleoperation, prosthetic devices control and also in controlling robotic exoskeletons. Over the last two decades researchers have come up with a plethora of decoding functions to map myoelectric signals to robot

Electromyogram (EMG)-based control interfaces are increasingly used in robot teleoperation, prosthetic devices control and also in controlling robotic exoskeletons. Over the last two decades researchers have come up with a plethora of decoding functions to map myoelectric signals to robot motions. However, this requires a lot of training and validation data sets, while the parameters of the decoding function are specific for each subject. In this thesis we propose a new methodology that doesn't require training and is not user-specific. The main idea is to supplement the decoding functional error with the human ability to learn inverse model of an arbitrary mapping function. We have shown that the subjects gradually learned the control strategy and their learning rates improved. We also worked on identifying an optimized control scheme that would be even more effective and easy to learn for the subjects. Optimization was done by taking into account that muscles act in synergies while performing a motion task. The low-dimensional representation of the neural activity was used to control a two-dimensional task. Results showed that in the case of reduced dimensionality mapping, the subjects were able to learn to control the device in a slower pace, however they were able to reach and retain the same level of controllability. To summarize, we were able to build an EMG-based controller for robot devices that would work for any subject, without any training or decoding function, suggesting human-embedded controllers for robotic devices.

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Date Created
2013

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Design and development of rolling and hopping ball robots for low gravity environment

Description

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals.

In-situ exploration of planetary bodies such as Mars or the Moon have provided geologists and planetary scientists a detailed understanding of how these bodies formed and evolved. In-situ exploration has aided in the quest for water and life-supporting chemicals. In-situ exploration of Mars carried out by large SUV-sized rovers that travel long distance, carry sophisticated onboard laboratories to perform soil analysis and sample collection. But their large size and mobility method prevents them from accessing or exploring extreme environments, particularly caves, canyons, cliffs and craters.

This work presents sub- 2 kg ball robots that can roll and hop in low gravity environments. These robots are low-cost enabling for one or more to be deployed in the field. These small robots can be deployed from a larger rover or lander and complement their capabilities by performing scouting and identifying potential targets of interest. Their small size and ball shape allow them to tumble freely, preventing them from getting stuck. Hopping enables the robot to overcome obstacles larger than the size of the robot.

The proposed ball-robot design consists of a spherical core with two hemispherical shells with grouser which act as wheels for small movements. These robots have two cameras for stereovision which can be used for localization. Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and wheel encoder are used for dead reckoning. Communication is performed using Zigbee radio. This enables communication between a robot and a lander/rover or for inter-robot communication. The robots have been designed to have a payload with a 300 gram capacity. These may include chemical analysis sensors, spectrometers and other small sensors.

The performance of the robot has been evaluated in a laboratory environment using Low-gravity Offset and Motion Assistance Simulation System (LOMASS). An evaluation was done to understand the effect of grouser height and grouser separation angle on the performance of the robot in different terrains. The experiments show with higher grouser height and optimal separation angle the power requirement increases but an increase in average robot speed and traction is also observed. The robot was observed to perform hops of approximately 20 cm in simulated lunar condition. Based on theoretical calculations, the robot would be able to perform 208 hops with single charge and will operate for 35 minutes. The study will be extended to operate multiple robots in a network to perform exploration. Their small size and cost makes it possible to deploy dozens in a region of interest. Multiple ball robots can cooperatively perform unique in-situ science measurements and analyze a larger surface area than a single robot alone on a planet surface.

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Date Created
2016