The TITAN arm gets a leg

Perhaps inspired by the success of their peers at University of Pennsylvania who won accolades and a cash prize from inventor James Dyson for their TITAN Arm exoskeleton component, student engineers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are designing leg exosuit components as part of a senior design project.
The senior design students are getting a boost from UC mechanical engineering master's degree student Gaurav Mukherjee and Professor Grant Schaffner.  This isn't Professor Schaffner's first body kinematics design; after receiving his Ph.D he worked as a contractor for The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), working at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) working on an exercise device called the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), which essentially reverses the typical role of an exosuit (assisting motion).  The ARED resists motion helping to fight muscle and bone degeneration in zero gravity.
The leg suit was one of a number of proposed project ideas by faculty (see #12).

ARED Grant Schaffner
Grant Schaffner (left) is a faculty advisor for the project.  He co-designed NASA's ARED workout device (click to enlarge).

The exoskeleton's frame is currently finished with a passive knee joint and spring-assisted standing/sitting motions.  A webpage from early in the year describes Professor Schaffner's project, stating:

Current efforts are seeking to improve the efficiency of a lower-body assistive exoskeleton system in stand-to-sit and sit-to-stand motions by exploiting the natural energetics of the motion and supplementing, rather than supplanting, the user's efforts. A passive knee-joint exoskeleton has been developed and tested and efforts are underway to add actively controlled actuators. Efforts are also under way to utilize a combination of kinematic measurements, electromyographic signals, and a brain-computer interface to reliably interpret the intent of the user.

By the sound of it, the UC team completed the powered actuators to allow the spring-loaded exoskeleton to offer basic assistance.

UC Computer Science professor Anca K. Ralescu and CS master's student Shikha Chaganti are "examining" how the exoskeleton could interpret the user's motion into the action that the user desires.  This likely will involve the use of sensors and patient feedback; it is unlikely to feature the more exotic brain interface methods such as control by implanted or external electrodes.

The research team has presented a brief animation, to that end, of the exoskeleton as an animated model, based on sensors attached to it:

The team is presenting its current design at the International Human-Centered Robotics Symposium, a multi-university robotics-themed conference that will be held on UC's campus this Friday.

The faculty and master's students hope to build a more ambitious exosuit next, with actuators to provide movement assistance ot the hip and ankle joints, in addition to the current knee joint mechanics.  The team is also working with the UC College of Nursing to test the suit and get feedback.

Like this exosuit?  Check out some of these other pending designs:
Clearly we're on the verge of some big things when it comes to robotic movement assistance.

Source: Univ. of Cincinnati

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

Most Popular Articles

Copyright 2018 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki