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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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A theoretical analysis of microchannel flow boiling enhancement via cross-sectional expansion

Description

Microchannel heat sinks can possess heat transfer characteristics unavailable in conventional heat exchangers; such sinks offer compact solutions to otherwise intractable thermal management problems, notably in small-scale electronics cooling. Flow boiling in microchannels allows a very high heat transfer rate,

Microchannel heat sinks can possess heat transfer characteristics unavailable in conventional heat exchangers; such sinks offer compact solutions to otherwise intractable thermal management problems, notably in small-scale electronics cooling. Flow boiling in microchannels allows a very high heat transfer rate, but is bounded by the critical heat flux (CHF). This thesis presents a theoretical-numerical study of a method to improve the heat rejection capability of a microchannel heat sink via expansion of the channel cross-section along the flow direction. The thermodynamic quality of the refrigerant increases during flow boiling, decreasing the density of the bulk coolant as it flows. This may effect pressure fluctuations in the channels, leading to nonuniform heat transfer and local dryout in regions exceeding CHF. This undesirable phenomenon is counteracted by permitting the cross-section of the microchannel to increase along the direction of flow, allowing more volume for the vapor. Governing equations are derived from a control-volume analysis of a single heated rectangular microchannel; the cross-section is allowed to expand in width and height. The resulting differential equations are solved numerically for a variety of channel expansion profiles and numbers of channels. The refrigerant is R-134a and channel parameters are based on a physical test bed in a related experiment. Significant improvement in CHF is possible with moderate area expansion. Minimal additional manufacturing costs could yield major gains in the utility of microchannel heat sinks. An optimum expansion rate occurred in certain cases, and alterations in the channel width are, in general, more effective at improving CHF than alterations in the channel height. Modest expansion in height enables small width expansions to be very effective.

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Date Created
2011

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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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Date Created
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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Numerical simulation of dynamic contact angles and contact lines in multiphase flows using level set method

Description

Many physical phenomena and industrial applications involve multiphase fluid flows and hence it is of high importance to be able to simulate various aspects of these flows accurately. The Dynamic Contact Angles (DCA) and the contact lines at the wall

Many physical phenomena and industrial applications involve multiphase fluid flows and hence it is of high importance to be able to simulate various aspects of these flows accurately. The Dynamic Contact Angles (DCA) and the contact lines at the wall boundaries are a couple of such important aspects. In the past few decades, many mathematical models were developed for predicting the contact angles of the inter-face with the wall boundary under various flow conditions. These models are used to incorporate the physics of DCA and contact line motion in numerical simulations using various interface capturing/tracking techniques. In the current thesis, a simple approach to incorporate the static and dynamic contact angle boundary conditions using the level set method is developed and implemented in multiphase CFD codes, LIT (Level set Interface Tracking) (Herrmann (2008)) and NGA (flow solver) (Desjardins et al (2008)). Various DCA models and associated boundary conditions are reviewed. In addition, numerical aspects such as the occurrence of a stress singularity at the contact lines and grid convergence of macroscopic interface shape are dealt with in the context of the level set approach.

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Date Created
2015

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

Description

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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Detailed numerical simulation of liquid jet in crossflow atomization with high density ratios

Description

The atomization of a liquid jet by a high speed cross-flowing gas has many applications such as gas turbines and augmentors. The mechanisms by which the liquid jet initially breaks up, however, are not well understood. Experimental studies suggest the

The atomization of a liquid jet by a high speed cross-flowing gas has many applications such as gas turbines and augmentors. The mechanisms by which the liquid jet initially breaks up, however, are not well understood. Experimental studies suggest the dependence of spray properties on operating conditions and nozzle geom- etry. Detailed numerical simulations can offer better understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms that lead to the breakup of the injected liquid jet. In this work, detailed numerical simulation results of turbulent liquid jets injected into turbulent gaseous cross flows for different density ratios is presented. A finite volume, balanced force fractional step flow solver to solve the Navier-Stokes equations is employed and coupled to a Refined Level Set Grid method to follow the phase interface. To enable the simulation of atomization of high density ratio fluids, we ensure discrete consistency between the solution of the conservative momentum equation and the level set based continuity equation by employing the Consistent Rescaled Momentum Transport (CRMT) method. The impact of different inflow jet boundary conditions on different jet properties including jet penetration is analyzed and results are compared to those obtained experimentally by Brown & McDonell(2006). In addition, instability analysis is performed to find the most dominant insta- bility mechanism that causes the liquid jet to breakup. Linear instability analysis is achieved using linear theories for Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin- Helmholtz instabilities and non-linear analysis is performed using our flow solver with different inflow jet boundary conditions.

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Date Created
2013

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Adaptive mesh generation for solution of incompressible fluid flows using high order gradients

Description

A new method of adaptive mesh generation for the computation of fluid flows is investigated. The method utilizes gradients of the flow solution to adapt the size and stretching of elements or volumes in the computational mesh as is

A new method of adaptive mesh generation for the computation of fluid flows is investigated. The method utilizes gradients of the flow solution to adapt the size and stretching of elements or volumes in the computational mesh as is commonly done in the conventional Hessian approach. However, in the new method, higher-order gradients are used in place of the Hessian. The method is applied to the finite element solution of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations on model problems. Results indicate that a significant efficiency benefit is realized.

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Date Created
2011