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Implementation of Variable Damping to Gait Rehabilitation Technology

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Walking ability is a complex process that is essential to humans, critical for performing a range of everyday tasks and enables a healthy, independent lifestyle. Human gait has evolved to

Walking ability is a complex process that is essential to humans, critical for performing a range of everyday tasks and enables a healthy, independent lifestyle. Human gait has evolved to be robust, adapting to a wide range of external stimuli, including variable walking surface compliance. Unfortunately, many people suffer from impaired gait as a result of conditions such as stroke. For these individuals, recovering their gait is a priority and a challenge. The ASU Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST) is a device that is able to the change its surface compliance through its unique variable stiffness mechanism. By doing this, the VST can be used to investigate gait and has potential as a rehabilitation tool. The objective of this research is to design a variable damping mechanism for the VST, which addresses the need to control effective surface damping, the only form of mechanical impedance that the VST does not currently control. Thus, this project will contribute toward the development of the Variable Impedance Treadmill (VIT), which will encompass a wider range of variable surface compliance and enable all forms of impedance to be con- trolled for the first time. To achieve this, the final design of the mechanism will employ eddy current damping using several permanent magnets mounted to the treadmill and a large copper plate stationed on the ground. Variable damping is obtained by using lead screw mechanisms to remove magnets from acting on the copper plate, which effectively eliminates their effect on damping and changes the overall treadmill surface damping. Results from experimentation validate the mechanism's ability to provide variable damping to the VST. A model for effective surface damping is generated based on open-loop characterization experiments and is generalized for future experimental setups. Overall, this project progresses to the development of the VIT and has potential applications in walking surface simulation, gait investigation, and robot-assisted rehabilitation technology.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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A wearable pneumatic device for investigating ankle inversion and eversion in human gait

Description

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans

Human walking has been a highly studied topic in research communities because of its extreme importance to human functionality and mobility. A complex system of interconnected gait mechanisms in humans is responsible for generating robust and consistent walking motion over unpredictable ground and through challenging obstacles. One interesting aspect of human gait is the ability to adjust in order to accommodate varying surface grades. Typical approaches to investigating this gait function focus on incline and decline surface angles, but most experiments fail to address the effects of surface grades that cause ankle inversion and eversion. There have been several studies of ankle angle perturbation over wider ranges of grade orientations in static conditions; however, these studies do not account for effects during the gait cycle. Furthermore, contemporary studies on this topic neglect critical sources of unnatural stimulus in the design of investigative technology. It is hypothesized that the investigation of ankle angle perturbations in the frontal plane, particularly in the context of inter-leg coordination mechanisms, results in a more complete characterization of the effects of surface grade on human gait mechanisms. This greater understanding could potentially lead to significant applications in gait rehabilitation, especially for individuals who suffer from impairment as a result of stroke. A wearable pneumatic device was designed to impose inversion and eversion perturbations on the ankle through simulated surface grade changes. This prototype device was fabricated, characterized, and tested in order to assess its effectiveness. After testing and characterizing this device, it was used in a series of experiments on human subjects while data was gathered on muscular activation and gait kinematics. The results of the characterization show success in imposing inversion and eversion angle perturbations of approximately 9° with a response time of 0.5 s. Preliminary experiments focusing on inter-leg coordination with healthy human subjects show that one-sided inversion and eversion perturbations have virtually no effect on gait kinematics. However, changes in muscular activation from one-sided perturbations show statistical significance in key lower limb muscles. Thus, the prototype device demonstrates novelty in the context of human gait research for potential applications in rehabilitation.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Bioinspired Interactions with Complex Granular and Aquatic Environments

Description

August Krogh, a 20th century Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, once stated, "for such a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a

August Krogh, a 20th century Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, once stated, "for such a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a few such animals, on which it can be most conveniently studied." What developed to be known as the Krogh Principle, has become the cornerstone of bioinspired robotics. This is the realization that solutions to various multifaceted engineering problems lie in nature. With the integration of biology, physics and engineering, the classical approach in solving engineering problems has transformed. Through such an integration, the presented research will address the following engineering solution: maneuverability on and through complex granular and aquatic environments. The basilisk lizard and the octopus are the key sources of inspiration for the anticipated solution. The basilisk lizard is a highly agile reptile with the ability to easily traverse on vast, alternating, unstructured, and complex terrains (i.e. sand, mud, water). This makes them a great medium for pursuing potential solutions for robotic locomotion on such terrains. The octopus, with a nearly soft, yet muscular hydrostat body and arms, is proficient in locomotion and its complex motor functions are vast. Their versatility, "infinite" degrees of freedom, and dexterity have made them an ideal candidate for inspiration in the fields such as soft robotics. Through conducting animal experiments on the basilisk lizard and octopus, insight can be obtained on the question: how does the animal interact with complex granular and aquatic environments so effectively? Following it through by conducting systematic robotic experiments, the capabilities and limitations of the animal can be understood. Integrating the hierarchical concepts observed and learnt through animal and robotic experiments, it can be used towards designing, modeling, and developing robotic systems that will assist humanity and society on a diversified set of applications: home service, health care, public safety, transportation, logistics, structural examinations, aquatic and extraterrestrial exploration, search-and-rescue, environmental monitoring, forestry, and agriculture, just to name a few. By learning and being inspired by nature, there exist the potential to go beyond nature for the greater good of society and humanity.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Vehicle Lateral Driving Stability Regions: Estimation, Analysis, and Control

Description

In the development of autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs), how to guarantee vehicle lateral stability is one of the most critical aspects. Based on nonlinear vehicle lateral and tire dynamics, new

In the development of autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs), how to guarantee vehicle lateral stability is one of the most critical aspects. Based on nonlinear vehicle lateral and tire dynamics, new driving requirements of AGVs demand further studies and analyses of vehicle lateral stability control strategies. To achieve comprehensive analyses and stability-guaranteed vehicle lateral driving control, this dissertation presents three main contributions.First, a new method is proposed to estimate and analyze vehicle lateral driving stability regions, which provide a direct and intuitive demonstration for stability control of AGVs. Based on a four-wheel vehicle model and a nonlinear 2D analytical LuGre tire model, a local linearization method is applied to estimate vehicle lateral driving stability regions by analyzing vehicle local stability at each operation point on a phase plane. The obtained stability regions are conservative because both vehicle and tire stability are simultaneously considered. Such a conservative feature is specifically important for characterizing the stability properties of AGVs.
Second, to analyze vehicle stability, two novel features of the estimated vehicle lateral driving stability regions are studied. First, a shifting vector is formulated to explicitly describe the shifting feature of the lateral stability regions with respect to the vehicle steering angles. Second, dynamic margins of the stability regions are formulated and applied to avoid the penetration of vehicle state trajectory with respect to the region boundaries. With these two features, the shiftable stability regions are feasible for real-time stability analysis.
Third, to keep the vehicle states (lateral velocity and yaw rate) always stay in the shiftable stability regions, different control methods are developed and evaluated. Based on different vehicle control configurations, two dynamic sliding mode controllers (SMC) are designed. To better control vehicle stability without suffering chattering issues in SMC, a non-overshooting model predictive control is proposed and applied. To further save computational burden for real-time implementation, time-varying control-dependent invariant sets and time-varying control-dependent barrier functions are proposed and adopted in a stability-guaranteed vehicle control problem.
Finally, to validate the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed theories, definitions, and control methods, illustrative simulations and experimental results are presented and discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021