Matching Items (64)

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Robotic 3D Mapping for Virtual Reality Implementation

Description

In recent years, environment mapping has garnered significant interest in both industrial and academic settings as a viable means of generating comprehensive virtual models of the physical world. These maps are created using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms that

In recent years, environment mapping has garnered significant interest in both industrial and academic settings as a viable means of generating comprehensive virtual models of the physical world. These maps are created using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms that combine depth contours with visual imaging information to create rich, layered point clouds. Given the recent advances in virtual reality technology, these generated point clouds can be imported onto the Oculus Rift or similar headset for virtual reality implementation. This project deals with the robotic implementation of RGB-D SLAM algorithms on mobile ground robots to generate complete point clouds that can be processed off-line and imported into virtual reality engines for viewing in the Oculus Rift. This project uses a ground robot along with a Kinect sensor to collect RGB-D data of the surrounding environment to build point cloud maps using SLAM software. These point clouds are then exported as object or polygon files for post-processing in software engines such as Meshlab or Unity. The point clouds generated from the SLAM software can be viewed in the Oculus Rift as is. However, these maps are mainly empty space and can be further optimized for virtual viewing. Additional techniques such as meshing and texture meshing were implemented on the raw point cloud maps and tested on the Oculus Rift. The aim of this project was to increase the potential applications for virtual reality by taking a robotic mapping approach to virtual reality environment development. This project was successful in achieving its objective. The following report details the processes used in developing a remotely-controlled robotic platform that can scan its environment and generate viable point cloud maps. These maps are then processed off line and ported into virtual reality software for viewing through the Oculus Rift.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Implementation of Variable Damping to Gait Rehabilitation Technology

Description

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,

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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Stability of the Human Ankle with Respect to Environmental Mechanics

Description

This study presents quantification of ankle stability as affected by environmental conditions in two degrees of freedom (DOF) with three distinct analysis techniques. Additionally, this study presents gender-specific trends for comparison. Intuitively, ankle stability decreased in less stable environments with

This study presents quantification of ankle stability as affected by environmental conditions in two degrees of freedom (DOF) with three distinct analysis techniques. Additionally, this study presents gender-specific trends for comparison. Intuitively, ankle stability decreased in less stable environments with a negative simulated stiffness. Female subjects generally suffered a greater loss of stability in moderately and highly unstable environments. Both gender groups exhibited greater stability in the sagittal plane than the frontal plane across the entire range of simulated stiffness's. Outcomes of this study are useful in the design of controllers for lower extremity physically-interactive robotics, understanding situations in which the ankle is likely to lose stability, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of unique analysis techniques.

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Date Created
2017-12

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Sensorimotor Control of Gait: A Novel Approach for the Study of the Interplay of Visual and Proprioceptive Feedback

Description

Sensorimotor control theories propose that the central nervous system exploits expected sensory consequences generated by motor commands for movement planning, as well as online sensory feedback for comparison with expected sensory feedback for monitoring and correcting, if needed, ongoing motor

Sensorimotor control theories propose that the central nervous system exploits expected sensory consequences generated by motor commands for movement planning, as well as online sensory feedback for comparison with expected sensory feedback for monitoring and correcting, if needed, ongoing motor output. In our study, we tested this theoretical framework by quantifying the functional role of expected vs. actual proprioceptive feedback for planning and regulation of gait in humans. We addressed this question by using a novel methodological approach to deliver fast perturbations of the walking surface stiffness, in conjunction with a virtual reality system that provided visual feedback of upcoming changes of surface stiffness. In the “predictable” experimental condition, we asked subjects to learn associating visual feedback of changes in floor stiffness (sand patch) during locomotion to quantify kinematic and kinetic changes in gait prior to and during the gait cycle. In the “unpredictable” experimental condition, we perturbed floor stiffness at unpredictable instances during the gait to characterize the gait-phase dependent strategies in recovering the locomotor cycle. For the “unpredictable” conditions, visual feedback of changes in floor stiffness was absent or inconsistent with tactile and proprioceptive feedback. The investigation of these perturbation-induced effects on contralateral leg kinematics revealed that visual feedback of upcoming changes in floor stiffness allows for both early (preparatory) and late (post-perturbation) changes in leg kinematics. However, when proprioceptive feedback is not available, the early responses in leg kinematics do not occur while the late responses are preserved although in a, slightly attenuated form. The methods proposed in this study and the preliminary results of the kinematic response of the contralateral leg open new directions for the investigation of the relative role of visual, tactile, and proprioceptive feedback on gait control, with potential implications for designing novel robot-assisted gait rehabilitation approaches.

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Date Created
2015-02-09

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Communication and Inference of Intended Movement Direction During Human-Human Physical Interaction

Description

Of particular interest to the neuroscience and robotics communities is the understanding of how two humans could physically collaborate to perform motor tasks such as holding a tool or moving it across locations. When two humans physically interact with each

Of particular interest to the neuroscience and robotics communities is the understanding of how two humans could physically collaborate to perform motor tasks such as holding a tool or moving it across locations. When two humans physically interact with each other, sensory consequences and motor outcomes are not entirely predictable as they also depend on the other agent’s actions. The sensory mechanisms involved in physical interactions are not well understood. The present study was designed (1) to quantify human–human physical interactions where one agent (“follower”) has to infer the intended or imagined—but not executed—direction of motion of another agent (“leader”) and (2) to reveal the underlying strategies used by the dyad. This study also aimed at verifying the extent to which visual feedback (VF) is necessary for communicating intended movement direction. We found that the control of leader on the relationship between force and motion was a critical factor in conveying his/her intended movement direction to the follower regardless of VF of the grasped handle or the arms. Interestingly, the dyad’s ability to communicate and infer movement direction with significant accuracy improved (>83%) after a relatively short amount of practice. These results indicate that the relationship between force and motion (interpreting as arm impedance modulation) may represent an important means for communicating intended movement direction between biological agents, as indicated by the modulation of this relationship to intended direction. Ongoing work is investigating the application of the present findings to optimize communication of high-level movement goals during physical interactions between biological and non-biological agents.

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Date Created
2017-04-13

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Proof of Concept of an Online EMG-Based Decoding of Hand Postures and Individual Digit Forces for Prosthetic Hand Control

Description

Introduction: Options currently available to individuals with upper limb loss range from prosthetic hands that can perform many movements, but require more cognitive effort to control, to simpler terminal devices with limited functional abilities. We attempted to address this issue

Introduction: Options currently available to individuals with upper limb loss range from prosthetic hands that can perform many movements, but require more cognitive effort to control, to simpler terminal devices with limited functional abilities. We attempted to address this issue by designing a myoelectric control system to modulate prosthetic hand posture and digit force distribution.

Methods: We recorded surface electromyographic (EMG) signals from five forearm muscles in eight able-bodied subjects while they modulated hand posture and the flexion force distribution of individual fingers. We used a support vector machine (SVM) and a random forest regression (RFR) to map EMG signal features to hand posture and individual digit forces, respectively. After training, subjects performed grasping tasks and hand gestures while a computer program computed and displayed online feedback of all digit forces, in which digits were flexed, and the magnitude of contact forces. We also used a commercially available prosthetic hand, the i-Limb (Touch Bionics), to provide a practical demonstration of the proposed approach’s ability to control hand posture and finger forces.

Results: Subjects could control hand pose and force distribution across the fingers during online testing. Decoding success rates ranged from 60% (index finger pointing) to 83–99% for 2-digit grasp and resting state, respectively. Subjects could also modulate finger force distribution.

Discussion: This work provides a proof of concept for the application of SVM and RFR for online control of hand posture and finger force distribution, respectively. Our approach has potential applications for enabling in-hand manipulation with a prosthetic hand.

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Created

Date Created
2017-02-01

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Design of a Collapsible Instrument for Studying Grasp of Breakable Objects

Description

Research on human grasp typically involves the grasp of objects designed for the study of fingertip forces. Instrumented objects for such studies have often been designed for the simulation of functional tasks, such as feeding oneself, or for rigidity such

Research on human grasp typically involves the grasp of objects designed for the study of fingertip forces. Instrumented objects for such studies have often been designed for the simulation of functional tasks, such as feeding oneself, or for rigidity such that the objects do not deform when grasped. The goal of this thesis was to design a collapsible, instrumented object to study grasp of breakable objects. Such an object would enable experiments on human grip responses to unexpected finger-object events as well as anticipatory mechanisms once object fragility has been observed. The collapsible object was designed to be modular to allow for properties such as friction and breaking force to be altered. The instrumented object could be used to study both human and artificial grasp.

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Date Created
2012-05

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Multidigit Tactile Exploration of Environment through an Object

Description

The ideal function of an upper limb prosthesis is to replace the human hand and arm, but a gulf in functionality between prostheses and biological arms still exists, in large part due the absence of the sense of touch. Tactile

The ideal function of an upper limb prosthesis is to replace the human hand and arm, but a gulf in functionality between prostheses and biological arms still exists, in large part due the absence of the sense of touch. Tactile sensing of the human hand comprises a key component of a wide variety of interactions with the external environment; visual feedback alone is not always sufficient for the recreation of nuanced tasks. It is hoped that the results of this study can contribute to the advancement of prosthetics with a tactile feedback loop with the ultimate goal of replacing biological function. A three-fingered robot hand equipped with tactile sensing fingertips was used to biomimetically grasp a ball in order haptically explore the environment for a ball-in-hole task. The sensorized fingertips were used to measure the vibration, pressure, and skin deformation experienced by each fingertip. Vibration and pressure sensed by the fingertips were good indicators of changes in discrete phases of the exploratory motion such as contact with the lip of a hole. The most informative tactile cue was the skin deformation of the fingers. Upon encountering the lip of the test surface, the lagging digit experienced compression in the fingertip and radial distal region of the digit. The middle digit experienced decompression of the middle region of the finger and the lagging digit showed compression towards the middle digit and decompression in the distal-ulnar region. Larger holes caused an increase in pressure experienced by the fingertips while changes in stroke speed showed no effect on tactile data. Larger coefficients of friction between the ball and the test surface led to an increase in pressure and skin deformation of the finger. Unlike most tactile sensing studies that focus on tactile stimuli generated by direct contact between a fingertip and the environment, this preliminary study focused on tactile stimuli generated when a grasped object interacts with the environment. Findings from this study could be used to design experiments for functionally similar activities of daily living, such as the haptic search for a keyhole via a grasped key.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Variable Stiffness Treadmill (VST): Design, Development, and Implementation of a Novel Tool for the Investigation of Human Gait

Description

The generation of walking motion is one of the most vital functions of the human body because it allows us to be mobile in our environment. Unfortunately, numerous individuals suffer from gait impairment as a result of debilitating conditions like

The generation of walking motion is one of the most vital functions of the human body because it allows us to be mobile in our environment. Unfortunately, numerous individuals suffer from gait impairment as a result of debilitating conditions like stroke, resulting in a serious loss of mobility. Our understanding of human gait is limited by the amount of research we conduct in relation to human walking mechanisms and their characteristics. In order to better understand these characteristics and the systems involved in the generation of human gait, it is necessary to increase the depth and range of research pertaining to walking motion. Specifically, there has been a lack of investigation into a particular area of human gait research that could potentially yield interesting conclusions about gait rehabilitation, which is the effect of surface stiffness on human gait. In order to investigate this idea, a number of studies have been conducted using experimental devices that focus on changing surface stiffness; however, these systems lack certain functionality that would be useful in an experimental scenario. To solve this problem and to investigate the effect of surface stiffness further, a system has been developed called the Variable Stiffness Treadmill system (VST). This treadmill system is a unique investigative tool that allows for the active control of surface stiffness. What is novel about this system is its ability to change the stiffness of the surface quickly, accurately, during the gait cycle, and throughout a large range of possible stiffness values. This type of functionality in an experimental system has never been implemented and constitutes a tremendous opportunity for valuable gait research in regard to the influence of surface stiffness. In this work, the design, development, and implementation of the Variable Stiffness Treadmill system is presented and discussed along with preliminary experimentation. The results from characterization testing demonstrate highly accurate stiffness control and excellent response characteristics for specific configurations. Initial indications from human experimental trials in relation to quantifiable effects from surface stiffness variation using the Variable Stiffness Treadmill system are encouraging.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Human Perception of Swarm Behavior

Description

This thesis focused on understanding how humans visually perceive swarm behavior through the use of swarm simulations and gaze tracking. The goal of this project was to determine visual patterns subjects display while observing and supervising a swarm as well

This thesis focused on understanding how humans visually perceive swarm behavior through the use of swarm simulations and gaze tracking. The goal of this project was to determine visual patterns subjects display while observing and supervising a swarm as well as determine what swarm characteristics affect these patterns. As an ultimate goal, it was hoped that this research will contribute to optimizing human-swarm interaction for the design of human supervisory controllers for swarms. To achieve the stated goals, two investigations were conducted. First, subjects gaze was tracked while observing a simulated swarm as it moved across the screen. This swarm changed in size, disturbance level in the position of the agents, speed, and path curvature. Second, subjects were asked to play a supervisory role as they watched a swarm move across the screen toward targets. The subjects determined whether a collision would occur and with which target while their responses as well as their gaze was tracked. In the case of an observatory role, a model of human gaze was created. This was embodied in a second order model similar to that of a spring-mass-damper system. This model was similar across subjects and stable. In the case of a supervisory role, inherent weaknesses in human perception were found, such as the inability to predict future position of curved paths. These findings are discussed in depth within the thesis. Overall, the results presented suggest that understanding human perception of swarms offers a new approach to the problem of swarm control. The ability to adapt controls to the strengths and weaknesses could lead to great strides in the reduction of operators in the control of one UAV, resulting in a move towards one man operation of a swarm.

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Created

Date Created
2015-05