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Feeding ontogeny in primates has three stages. In utero, nutrition is gained maternally. After birth, primates suckle. We know little about functional variation in these stages. The transition to adult feeding – highlighted by weaning – varies across species. Variation is tied to many socioecological and morphological influences across primates. Primate feeding apparatus ontogeny is affected by many factors. Diet exhibits a complex relationship with the clearest signal marked by rapid dental mineralization and eruption in folivorous strepsirrhines. Mineralization varies across primates. Emergence and eruption of postcanine teeth tends to follow size in both suborders with smaller taxa showing earlier emergence, the exception being rapid eruption in some folivores. Compared to teeth, less is known about the musculoskeletal ontogeny of the feeding apparatus. Most studies compare closely related species and link musculoskeletal robustness to challenging diets. Looking forward, better understanding of primate feeding apparatus growth will require improved samples (a challenge for long-lived species) and emphasis on the evolutionary significance of feeding throughout ontogeny.
Primate locomotor development is a protracted process. We summarize the time course of locomotor development in approximately 50 primates distributed across the extant radiation. Despite substantial variance, we identify several broad trends. Primates are somewhat precocial at birth – born with their eyes open and able to strongly grasp. Locomotor onset age generally increases with body mass, although certain taxonomic groups (e.g., lemurids and cercopithecids) develop early for their size whereas others (e.g., indriids and hominids) develop relatively late. Initial locomotor movements are similar across primates and dominated by quadrupedal crawling. Only later do more specialized forms of locomotion emerge (e.g., leaping and brachiation), often in concert with functional changes in musculoskeletal anatomy (e.g., maturation of intermembral indices, center of mass position, and bony muscle leverage). We advocate viewing locomotor development as a fundamental life-history parameter, responding to the same evolutionary pressures shown to be fundamental to other aspects of primate life history (e.g., predation, resource access, body size, encephalization).
People with severe neuromuscular trunk impairment cannot maintain or control upright posture of the upper body in sitting while reaching. Passive orthoses are clinically available to provide support and promote the use of upper extremities in this population. However, these orthoses only position the torso passively without any degree of trunk movement.
We introduce for the first time a novel active-assistive torso brace called Wheelchair Robot for Active Postural Support (WRAPS). It consists of two rings over the hips and chest connected by a 2RPS-2UPS parallel robotic device. WRAPS can modulate the displacement of the upper ring and/or the forces applied on the torso through the ring in four degrees-of-freedom (DOF), including rotations and translation in the sagittal and frontal planes.
In the present study, we evaluate the design of WRAPS and its functions. Moreover, we discuss the potential effectiveness of WRAPS as a therapeutic robotic tool in people with severe trunk control deficits. The performance of WRAPS was evaluated in seated healthy subjects. Kinematics and surface electromyography (sEMG) were collected when the participants performed selective trunk movements. First, the torso range of motion (tROM) was calculated with WRAPS in transparent mode—zero-force control mode—which was compared with free-guided tROM (no WRAPS) with motion capture system. Second, a position control mode was configured to mobilize the torso along the trajectories obtained with the transparent mode.
Our results show that the design of WRAPS suited well the subject’s anthropometrics while supporting the weight of the torso. Importantly, WRAPS can be programmed to replicate the subject’s tROM, without the full activation of torso muscles. This can be critical in individuals with no trunk control. Altogether, these preliminary results indicate the potential applicability of WRAPS to promote active-assistive trunk mobility in people who cannot sit independently because of trunk dysfunction.
Nonlinear articular geometries of biological joints have contributed to highly agile and adaptable human-body motions. However, human–machine interaction could potentially distort natural human motions if the artificial mechanisms overload the articular surfaces and constrain biological joint kinematics. It is desired to better understand the deformable articular geometries of biological joints in vivo during movements for design and control of wearable robotics. An articular geometry reconstruction method is proposed to measure the effective articular profile with a wearable compliant device and illustrated with its application to knee-joint kinematic analysis. Regarding the joint articulation as boundary constraints for the compliant mechanism, the equivalent articular geometry is constructed from the beam deformations driven by knee motions, where the continuous deformations are estimated with strain data from the embedded sensors. Both simulated analysis and experimental validation are presented to justify the proposed method.
Using wearable robots is an effective means of rehabilitation for stroke survivors, and effective recognition of human motion intentions is a key premise in controlling wearable robots. In this paper, we propose an inertial measurement unit (IMU)-based gait phase detection system. The system consists of two IMUs that are tied on the thigh and on the shank, respectively, for collecting acceleration and angular velocity. Features were extracted using a sliding window of 150 ms in length, which was then fed into a quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA) classifier for classification. We recruited five stroke survivors to test our system. They walked at their own preferred speed on the level ground. Experimental results show that our proposed system has the ability of recognizing the gait phase of stroke survivors. All recognition accuracy results are above 96.5%, and detections are about 5–15 ms in advance of time. In addition, using only one IMU can also give reliable recognition results. This paper proposes an idea about the further research on human–computer interaction for the control of wearable robots.
For a real-time robotic prosthetic control, gait event detection plays an important role. In this paper, one novel sensor was proposed to realize gait event detection. The sensor includes one strain gauge bridge, which can reflect the entire deformation of carbon-fiber footplate on a robotic prosthesis. Three unilateral transtibial amputees participated in the experiments. Experimental results show that using the proposed sensor method, gait event detection (stance phase and swing phase) accuracy is approximately 100%. Based on the detected gait events, three locomotion modes (sit, stand, and walk) and the corresponding transition modes could be determined. Difference between different gait event detection systems was further conducted.
Biofilms are communities of bacteria that exhibit a multitude of multiscale biomechanical behaviours. Recent experimental advances have led to characterisations of these behaviours in terms of measurements of the viscoelastic moduli of biofilms grown in bioreactors and the fracture and fragmentation properties of biofilms. These properties are macroscale features of biofilms; however, a previous work by our group has shown that heterogeneous microscale features are critical in predicting biofilm rheology. In this paper, we use tools from statistical physics to develop a generative statistical model of the positions of bacteria in biofilms. Specifically, the model is a type of pairwise interaction model (PIM). We show through simulation that the macroscopic mechanical properties of biofilms depend on the choice of microscale spatial model. A key finding is that uniform and non-uniform sets of points lead to differing mechanical properties. This distinction appears not to have been previously considered in mathematical biofilm literature. We also found that realisations of a biologically informed PIM have realistic in silico mechanical properties, and have statistical properties that closely match experimental data. We also note that a Poisson spatial point process of suitable number density also yields realistic mechanical properties, but that the spatial distribution of points does not reflect those occurring in our experimentally observed biofilm.
Background: There is a significant need for a targeted therapy for essential tremor (ET), as medications have not been developed specifically for ET, and the ones prescribed are often not well-tolerated, so that many patients remain untreated. Recent work has shown that, unlike previous experience, kinematically guided individualized botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) injections provide benefit along with minimal weakness. Ours is the first long-term (96-week) safety and efficacy study of BoNT-A as monotherapy for ET using kinematically driven injection parameters. Methods: Ten ET patients were administered six serial BoNT-A treatments every 16 weeks and were assessed at 6 weeks following treatment. During each study visit, the Fahn–Tolosa–Marin (FTM) scale, the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, and the Quality of Life for Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) were administered along with kinematic assessment of the treated limb. Participants performed scripted tasks with motion sensors placed over each arm joint. Dosing patterns were determined using the movement disorder neurologist’s interpretation of muscles contributing to the kinematically analyzed upper limb tremor biomechanics. Results: There was a 33.8% (p<0.05) functional improvement (FTM part C) and a 39.8% (p<0.0005) improvement in QUEST score at week 96 compared to pretreatment scores at week 0. Although there was a 44.6% (p<0.0005) non-dose-dependent reduction in maximal grip strength, only 2 participants complained of mild weakness. Following the fourth serial treatment, mean action tremor score was reduced by 62.9% (p=0.001) in the treated and by 44.4% (p=0.03) in the untreated arm at week 96 compared to week 48. Conclusions: Individualized BoNT-A dosing patterns to each individual’s tremor biomechanics provided an effective monotherapy for ET as function improved without functionally limiting muscle weakness.
In this research, we compared the anatomy and biomechanics of two species of mudskipper vs an aquatic sandgoby in view of terrestrial locomotion. Of particular interest was the relationship (if any) of pectoral fin movement with pelvic fin movement. We show that the pelvic fins of the terrestrial mudskippers studied herein, are retractable and move antagonistically with the pectoral fins. The pelvic fin of the sandgoby studied here is contrarily non-retractable and drags on any underlying substrate that the sandgoby tries to crawl across. We find that the pelvic and pectoral fin muscles of all fish are separated, but that the pectoral fins of the mudskipper species have bulkier radial muscles than the sandgoby. By coupling a detailed morphological investigation of pectoral-pelvic fins musculature with finite element simulations, we find that unlike sandgobies, the mudskipper species are able to mechanically push the pelvic fins downward as pectoral fins retract. This allows for an instant movement of pelvic fins during the pectoral fin backward stroke and as such the pelvic fins stabilize mudskippers through Stefan attachment of their pelvic fins. This mechanism seems to be efficient and energy saving and we hypothesize that the piston-like action might benefit pelvic–pectoral fin antagonism by facilitating a mechanical down-thrust. Our research on the biomechanics of tree-climbing fish provides ideas and greater potential for the development of energetically more efficient systems of ambulation in biomimetic robots.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether the type of protein ingested influences the efficiency of catch-up (CU) growth and bone quality in fast-growing male rats. Young male Sprague–Dawley rats were either fed ad libitum (controls) or subjected to 36 d of 40 % food restriction followed by 24 or 40 d of re-feeding with either standard rat chow or iso-energetic, iso-protein diets containing milk proteins – casein or whey. In terms of body weight, CU growth was incomplete in all study groups. Despite their similar food consumption, casein-re-fed rats had a significantly higher body weight and longer humerus than whey-re-fed rats in the long term. The height of the epiphyseal growth plate (EGP) in both casein and whey groups was greater than that of rats re-fed normal chow. Microcomputed tomography yielded significant differences in bone microstructure between the casein and whey groups, with the casein-re-fed animals having greater cortical thickness in both the short and long term in addition to a higher trabecular bone fraction in the short term, although this difference disappeared in the long term. Mechanical testing confirmed the greater bone strength in rats re-fed casein. Bone quality during CU growth significantly depends on the type of protein ingested. The higher EGP in the casein- and whey-re-fed rats suggests a better growth potential with milk-based diets. These results suggest that whey may lead to slower bone growth with reduced weight gain and, as such, may serve to circumvent long-term complications of CU growth.
Carinodens is among the smallest known mosasaurs, and one of the most elusive at that. This enigmatic taxon is known from only two dentary fragments and just over a dozen of isolated teeth. Based on this material, an attempt is made to improve our understanding of the dietary habits of this mosasaur, by comparing tooth and jaw morphology to extant analogues, and by testing a biomechanical model with ‘feeding’ experiments using an artificial mosasaur jaw equipped with a force gauge. Carinodens appears to have been a durophagous mosasaur, capable of crushing small molluscs and arthropods, although its dietary habits may not necessarily have been limited to hard-shelled food.
Both undernutrition and hypoxia exert a negative influence on both growth pattern and bone mechanical properties in developing rats. The present study explored the effects of chronic food restriction on both variables in growing rats exposed to simulated high-altitude hypoxia. Male rats (n 80) aged 28 d were divided into normoxic (Nx) and hypoxic (Hx) groups. Hx rats were exposed to hypobaric air (380 mmHg) in decompression chambers. At T0, Nx and Hx rats were subdivided into four equal subgroups: normoxic control and hypoxic controls, and normoxic growth-restricted and hypoxic growth-restricted received 80 % of the amount of food consumed freely by their respective controls for a 4-week period. Half of these animals were studied at the end of this period (T4). The remaining rats in each group continued under the same environmental conditions, but food was offered ad libitum to explore the type of catch-up growth during 8 weeks. Structural bone properties (strength and stiffness) were evaluated in the right femur midshaft by the mechanical three-point bending test; geometric properties (length, cross-sectional area, cortical mass, bending cross-sectional moment of inertia) and intrinsic properties of the bone tissue (elastic modulus) were measured or derived from appropriate equations. Bone mineralisation was assessed by ash measurement of the left femur. These data indicate that the growth-retarded effects of diminished food intake, induced either by food restriction or hypoxia-related inhibition of appetite, generated the formation of corresponding smaller bones in which subnormal structural and geometric properties were observed. However, they seemed to be appropriate to the body mass of the animals and suggest, therefore, that the bones were not osteopenic. When food restriction was imposed in Hx rats, the combined effects of both variables were additive, inducing a further reduction of bone mass and bone load-carrying capacity. In all cases, the mechanical properties of the mineralised tissue were unaffected. This and the capacity of the treated bones to undergone complete catch-up growth with full restoration of the biomechanical properties suggest that undernutrition, under either Nx or Hx conditions, does not affect bone behaviour because it remains appropriate to its mechanical functions.
Red blood cells (RBCs) are very important due to their role of oxygen transport from lungs. As the malaria parasite grows in the malaria-infected red blood cells (IRBCs), the properties of the cells change. In the present work, the oxygen uptake by RBCs and IRBCs at the pulmonary capillaries is simulated using a numerical technique based on the two-dimensional immersed interface method. The results for the oxygen uptake by a stationary single RBC have fair agreements with the previously reported results. The numerical results show that the malaria infection could significantly cause deterioration on the oxygen uptake by red blood cells. The results also suggest that the oxygen uptake by individual stationary RBC/IRBC would not be significantly affected by the neighboring cells provided the separation distance is about the dimension of the cell. Furthermore, it appears that the oxygen uptake by both RBCs and IRBCs is dominated by mass diffusion over the convection although the Peclet number is of the order of unity.
This paper treats the systematic injury analysis of lower arm robot–human impacts. For this purpose, a passive mechanical lower arm (PMLA) was developed that mimics the human impact response and is suitable for systematic impact testing and prediction of mild contusions and lacerations. A mathematical model of the passive human lower arm is adopted to the control of the PMLA. Its biofidelity is verified by a number of comparative impact experiments with the PMLA and a human volunteer. The respective dynamic impact responses show very good consistency and support the fact that the developed device may serve as a human substitute in safety analysis for the described conditions. The collision tests were performed with two different robots: the DLR Lightweight Robot III (LWR-III) and the EPSON PS3L industrial robot. The data acquired in the PMLA impact experiments were used to encapsulate the results in a robot independent safety curve, taking into account robot's reflected inertia, velocity and impact geometry. Safety curves define the velocity boundaries on robot motions based on the instantaneous manipulator dynamics and possible human injury due to unforeseen impacts.
The study of arm muscles for independent operations leading to prosthetic design was carried out. Feature extraction was done on the recorded signal for investigating the voluntary muscular contraction relationship for different arm motions and then repeated factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) technique was implemented to analyze effectiveness of signal. The electronic design consisted of analog and digital signal processing and controlling circuit and mechanical assembly consisted of wrist, palm and the fingers to grip the object in addition to a screw arrangement connected to a low power DC motor and gear assembly to open or close the hand. The wrist is mechanically rotated to orient the hand in a direction suitable to pick up/hold the object. The entire set up is placed in a casing which provides a cosmetic appeal to the artificial hand and the connected arm. The design criteria include electronic control, reliability, light weight, variable grip force with ease of attachment for simple operations like opening, grasping and lifting objects of different weight with grip force slightly more than enough just like that of a natural hand.
Our goal is to introduce a more appropriate method of representing, generalising and comparing gaits; particularly, walking gait. Human walking gaits are a result of complex, interdependent factors that include variations resulting from embodiments, environment and tasks, making techniques that use average template frameworks suboptimal for systematic analysis or corrective interventions. The proposed work aims to devise methodologies for being able to represent gaits and gait transitions such that optimal policies that eliminate the inter-personal variations from tasks and embodiments may be recovered. Our approach is built upon (i) work in the domain of nullspace policy recovery and (ii) previous work in generalisation for point-to-point movements. The problem is formalised using a walking-phase model, and the nullspace learning method is used to generalise a consistent policy from multiple observations with rich variations. Once recovered, the underlying policies (mapped to different gait phases) can serve as reference guideline to quantify and identify pathological gaits while being robust against interpersonal and task variations. To validate our methods, we have demonstrated robustness of our method with simulated sagittal two-link gait data with multiple ground truth constraints and policies. Pathological gait identification was then tested on real-world human gait data with induced gait abnormality, with the proposed method showing significant robustness to variations in speed and embodiment compared to template-based methods. Future work will extend this to kinetic features and higher dimensional features.
It is important to develop a robotic orthosis or exoskeleton that can provide back-drivable and good assistive performances with lightweight structures for overground gait rehabilitation of stroke patients. In this paper, we describe a robotic knee device with a five-bar linkage to allow low-impedance voluntary knee motion within a specified rotation range during the swing phase, and to assist knee extension during the stance phase. The device can provide free motion through the five-bar linkage with 2-degree-of-freedom (DOF) actuation via the patient's shank using a linear actuator, and can assist knee extension at any controlled knee angle while bearing weight via a geared five-bar linkage with 1 DOF actuation of the linear actuator. The kinematic transition between the two modes can be implemented by contact with a circular structure and a linear link, and the resultant range of motion can be determined by the linear actuator. The kinematic weight of the device was optimized using the simple genetic algorithm to reduce the mass. The optimization cost function was based on the sum of the total link lengths and the actuator power. The optimization results reduced the total link length and motor power by 47% and 43%, respectively, compared to the initial design. We expect that the device will facilitate rehabilitation of stroke patients by allowing safe and free overground walking while providing support for stumbling.
Using simple running models, researchers have argued that swing-leg retraction can improve running robot performance. In this paper, we investigate whether this holds for a more realistic simulation model validated against a physical running robot. We find that swing-leg retraction can improve stability and disturbance rejection. Alternatively, swing-leg retraction can simultaneously reduce touchdown forces, slipping likelihood, and impact energy losses. Surprisingly, swing-leg retraction barely affected net energetic efficiency. The retraction rates at which these effects are the greatest are strongly model-dependent, suggesting that robot designers cannot always rely on simplified models to accurately predict such complex behaviors.
While Sit-to-Stand and Stand-to-Sit are routine activities and are crucial pre-requisites to walking and running their underlying dynamics are poorly understood. Furthermore, the potential for using these movements to regenerate energy in energy-sensitive devices such as orthoses, prostheses and humanoid robots has never been examined. Insights in this domain can lead to more energy-efficient prosthesis, orthosis and humanoid robot designs. OBJECTIVES: The objectives are two-fold: first, to determine how much energy can be regenerated during standard movements related to transitions between sitting and standing on a scale humanoid model and second, to determine if the chosen actuator could produce better results if the gear ratio were modified. This manuscript's main contribution to the literature is by showing which joint provides the most regenerative effect during transitions between sitting and standing. MODEL DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION: Joint trajectories from existing biomechanics trials of sitting and standing transitions were fed into a 1/10 scale model of a humanoid robot. The robot model, developed in MapleSim, is comprised of standard and off-the-shelf subcomponents, including amplifier, NiMH battery and Robotis Dynamixel RX-28 actuators. RESULTS: Using the RX-28 actuator, the ankle, knee and hip joints all show a degree of regenerative effects, the hip demonstrates the most dramatic levels during the transition from standing to sitting. This contrasts with recent publications which show that the knee has the most important regenerative effects during walking and running. It is also found that for under 3 degree trajectory error the regenerative effect is best for all joints when the gear ratio is increased from the RX-28's 193:1 value to a value of approximately 760:1 for the ankle, 630:1 for the knee and 600:1 for the hip. CONCLUSIONS: During transitions between sitting and standing the greatest potential for regeneration occurs in the hips. Therefore, systems designed to implement regenerative effects between sitting and standing need to include subsystems at the hip for maximum regenerative effects.
In this article, we consider a swimmer (i.e. a self-deformable body)
immersed in a fluid, the flow of which is governed by the stationary Stokes equations.
This model is relevant for studying the locomotion of microorganisms or micro robots for
which the inertia effects can be neglected. Our first main contribution is to prove that
any such microswimmer has the ability to track, by performing a sequence of shape changes,
any given trajectory in the fluid. We show that, in addition, this can be done by means of
arbitrarily small body deformations that can be superimposed to any preassigned sequence
of macro shape changes. Our second contribution is to prove that, when no macro
deformations are prescribed, tracking is generically possible by means of shape changes
obtained as a suitable combination of only four elementary deformations. Eventually, still
considering finite dimensional deformations, we state results about the existence of
optimal swimming strategies on short time intervals, for a wide class of cost